In Allen, TX, 2012, Hope Votaw, 14, was a middle school student soon graduating from 8th grade despite her folks’ divorce. Comforting her online via Facebook was a woman named Shayla Williams, 19. She told Hope that she had a son named Tyler. Hope trusted her. But this costed her schoolwork.
One day, months from graduation, Hope’s mother Denise confronted Hope for skipping classes. Grounding her was not enough because she discared for her mother. So, Denise called 9–1–1 on her hoping the cops could talk sense into her. When the police arrived however, Hope bursted toward the door only for them to stop her. Hope kicked a female cop and was detained instantly. After some time in juvenile hall aka Juvie, Hope was probated for 6 months and this included a 6pm curfew and a cut off from online contact thru social media.
But soon after, Shayla contacted Hope and Hope stated to her she despised her mother for betraying her and facistly ruining her life. She had no choice but to give Shayla her address and phone number so she can run away with her. That night, she snuck out of the house and escaped with Shayla. Noticing Hope gone, Denise was so hesitant to involve the cops that she did her own detective work when she discovered the phone # belonging to Shayla. She contacted her and informed her that Hope was 14. Shayla claimed she will take Hope back to Denise at 1pm. Around that time, she did not at all. When she disconnected Denise, Denise resumed her own detective work. She searched for Hope but no avail.
3 days since Hope ran off with Shayla, Denise called the cops who as she suspected were no help to her. But then, on June 30th, 2012, a phone call came from none other than Hope from a motel room. Around 7:30 PM, authorities went to Room 322 there and found an intoxicated Hope inside.
Although returning from the hospital, Hope had to return to juvie but had also to less discard authorities esp. those from Homeland Security the truth behind her terrible ordeal with Shayla and her boyfriend, William. They were in the human trafficking business. At a safe house, Hope told an agent from Homeland Security that she refused to remove her clothes before William who then brutally punched her in the face before taking photos of her, indecent ones. She and Shayla then sealed her away in a closet in the hotel room. Next they uploaded her pics to a classified escorts website under the alias Sofia. Hope was even whipped with a belt by William frequently then pilled (drugged) prior to then being put in the trunk of William’s car.
In 8 states had Hope been forced into sexual slavery. Agent Owens of Homeland Security enacted a manhunt for William and Shayla but had to keep the investigative hunt statewide because outside Texas, they had no jurisdiction. But Owens relized that the only way that William and Shayla would have to return to Texas would be due to a college football game. They did so riskfully and a hotel manager in Arlington reported them.
On August 31st, 2012, staking out the hotel, Homeland Security and the local police soon caught William and Shayla popping out of his car. They then ambushed the vile couple at gunpoint. They were each unsuccessful of escaping. Arrested for human trafficking, an upfront Shayla threw William under the bus knowing he was the mastermind behind Hope’s ordeal. For her cooperation, Shayla was sentenced to 5 years in jail while William was convicted of human trafficking and sentenced to 20 years behind bars. Hope was glad to be safely returned home after their convictions as was Denise.
Source: Web of Lies: Stolen Youth, Investigation Discovery