Missing Florida Teen Rescued After Being Held as Sex Slave for a Year

Missing Florida Teen Rescued After Being Held as Sex Slave for a Year January 16, 2019
St. Petersburg Police Department Photo Credit

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the arrest of seven individuals that held a 15-year-old teen as a sex slave for nearly a year. The arrests of the group follow an 8-month long investigation into the sex-trafficking of the boy.

According to an announcement by the St. Petersburg Police Department, authorities arrested six individuals on Monday. One criminal remained at large, but he turned himself in on Tuesday.

The case began on May 9, 2018, when St. Petersburg Police received a missing person tip from Louisiana law enforcement. According to the Louisana police, a 17-year-old boy had gone missing. Police believed the child could be located at a mobile home in St. Petersburg.

Following up on the tip, St. Petersburg Police went to the address provided by the Louisiana authorities. When authorities arrived at the home, they found the missing boy. In addition to the missing boy, they found another 16-year-old living in the house and four adults: Mark Earl Dennis, Andrew Barry Dennis, Curtis Lee Gruwell, and Michael Wayne Schwartz.

When questioned by police, Mark Dennis claimed to be the 16-year-old boy’s biological father. Police pressed Mark Dennis for documents proving his paternity, but Dennis could not provide any information.

After failing to prove his paternity of the boys, police removed both of them from the mobile home. As police worked to determine the identity of the second boy, they learned the boy was a missing teen from Marion County.

Through the investigation, police determined the group lured the 17-year-old victim through the gaming app Discord. The group offered to pick up the teen and bring him to St. Petersburg.

The 16-year-old victim met the group through a family acquaintance Eleanor Faye McGlamory. McGlamory introduced the then 15-year-old to Mark and Andrew Dennis. The men lured the boy to St. Petersburg with the promise of a better life.

In May 2017, the 16-year-old boy’s mother found a note from him telling her not to look for him. He was then taken to the mobile home in St. Petersburg.

Instead of the amazing life the men promised him, the boy moved into a filthy mobile home covered in animal feces. For the next 11 months, the men introduced the boy to sadomasochism and used him as a sex slave. Additionally, Mark and Andrew Dennis allowed Gruwell, Schwartz, and their associates Michael Ray Blasdel and JR Gauthier to assault the boy.

While the boy lived as a sex slave, the group did not allow him to attend school or receive medical care. After police removed the 16-year-old, they said the victim entered specialized trauma-informed care designed for trafficking victims. Today the authorities say the teen is thriving.

Police say the 17-year-old victim returned home to Louisana.

After police removed the boys from the home, the group moved from St. Petersburg to Lehigh Acres in Lee County, Florida. Through a coordinated effort between multiple agencies, authorities tracked down and arrested six of the perpetrators on Monday.

Unable to find Curtis Gruwell, authorities asked the community to provide the St. Petersburg Police Department with information on his location. Thankfully police didn’t have to wait long because Gruwell turned himself in on Tuesday.

After the announcement, the department provided the details of the charges of the perpetrators:

Andrew Barry Dennis
Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking
Interference with Custody
Sexual Battery (with a child under age 16)

Curtis Lee Gruwell
Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking
Interference with Custody

Michael Wayne Schwartz
Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking
Interference with Custody

Michael Ray Blasdel
Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking
Interference with Custody
Transmission of material harmful to minors to a minor
Sexual Battery (with a child under age 16)
Sexual Battery (with a child under age 16)

JR Gauthier
Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking
Interference with Custody
Sexual Battery (with a child under age 16)

Eleanor Faye McGlamory
Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking
Interference with Custody

Authorities did not provide details about the court dates for the crew.

Thanks to the tip of Louisana law enforcement two young boys are free from their time in sexual captivity. Individuals concerned that someone they know may be a victim of human trafficking are urged to call The National Human Trafficking Hotline.

The national, toll-free hotline, is available to answer calls, texts and live chats 24/7.
To report a case of human trafficking call 1-888-373-7888.

*Katie Joy is a blogger and freelance writer. Her work is featured on Upworthy, Huffington Post, Yahoo Parents, Mamamia, Daily Beast, Cafe Stir, Newsweek, Jezebel, and The Daily Mail. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

Communicate with Katie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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