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2 recent attempted abduction reports raise human trafficking concerns

614now Staff

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Two recent police reports have local families questioning whether they had a brush with human traffickers.

The first incident involved 18-year-old Kennedy Stokes, who said she and her cousin were approached by two men at a Walmart on November 21, reports 10TV. Stokes said the men tried talking to them several times and felt they were following them.

The next day, Strokes was experiencing car problems on her way home. She made it to the entrance of her apartment complex and got out to check under the hood. That’s when a man approached and began grabbing at her.

Stokes noted he was wearing gloves and appeared to have a box cutter in his hand, reports 10TV. She was able to escape his grasp and suffered scratches on her chest.

Stokes believes it was one of the men from Walmart.

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The second incident happened 14 miles away at a UDF on Indianola on the same day Stokes said she was attacked, reports 10TV.

A mother and her 12-year-old son were filling up at the gas station. She then went inside to pay, leaving her son in the locked vehicle.

When she returned, she said her son was visibly shaken up. He told her a man was yanking on the door handle, trying to get inside the vehicle. According to 10TV, the man didn’t say anything, he only looked inside at the boy.

A security camera captured the incident, and police are currently reviewing the footage.

Both incidents have those involved wondering if they narrowly escaped a case of human trafficking. 10TV reports police are investigating both reports, including identification of suspects and motives.

For more on human trafficking, visit humantrafficking.ohio.gov.

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Crime

Columbus firefighter on leave after attempting sexual conduct with teen

614now Staff

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A Columbus firefighter is being charged with attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

According to court documents per 10TV, 54-year-old Walter Lash is on leave without pay following conduct involving a 15-year-old girl on Feb. 26.

Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin released a statement to 10TV on the charge:

“We have been aware of the charges against Lash. This is devastating to the division and is in no way representative of the values that define us as public servants. Lash will be afforded due process in court as anyone would be and then will face appropriate actions by the division of fire.”

Lash being held at the Franklin County Jail, and is due to be arraigned on Thursday.

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2 former OSU football players facing rape, kidnapping charges

614now Staff

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Two Ohio State University football players have been arrested and charged with rape and kidnapping.

Amir I. Riep, 21, and Jahsen L. Wint, 21, were charged late Tuesday by Columbus police and are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning in Franklin County Municipal Court, reports Columbus Dispatch.

The incident is alleged to have occurred the evening of Feb. 4 at the apartment Riep and Wint share on Sawmill Place Boulevard.

The two men have been dismissed from the Ohio State football team.

To read more from the affidavit filed by Columbus police about the alleged incident, visit The Dispatch.

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Police investigating Short North shooting, 2nd in 3 days

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Police are investigating a shooting in the Short North, the second in the area in just three days.

According to 10TV, two men got into an argument with two other men just after 3am this morning in the 700 block of North High St. One of the men walked back to a vehicle to get a handgun and fired eight shots.

One man was shot in the back, and another man was cut on the ear by a knife.

A witness told police the suspects left the scene in a silver Ford F-150 pickup truck.

https://twitter.com/ColumbusPolice/status/1224349070904504322

On Friday, a bystander was shot in the face by a stray bullet outside Monarch Lounge located at 700 North High St.

If anyone has any information, they are asked to call police at 614-645-4141 or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-8477.

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