Authorities: No organized crime in Columbus

Authorities: No organized crime in Columbus
Rodney DeVillars, 45. Photo courtesy Columbus Police.
Rodney DeVillars, 45. Photo courtesy Columbus Police.

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Recently, a 15-year-old Columbus girl went missing for over a month, and was reunited with her family. The teen was reportedly found in a "Party House" last Thursday after being missing for a month.

Her father and an anti-human trafficking organization called Trafficking in America Task Force, believe the situation was a case of human trafficking, and the claim is raising concerns in Columbus.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson tells News Leader 9 that after hearing about the report she conferred with the Chief of Police.

"We don't have sex trafficking in the way that it was reported. Certainly, we have prostitution, as does every city, and we certainly have a vice unit and a sex crimes unit and we are clamping down on that hard now. We certainly don't tolerate any crime," stated Tomlinson.

Columbus police say they arrested 45-year-old Rodney DeVillars in connection with the missing 15-year-girl found last week. He is charged with enticing a child for indecent purpose.

Lieutenant Warren Dunlap of the Special Victims Unit said a lot of manpower went into the search.

"Every piece of information we got, we tried to follow up on it. We hit some areas where people did not want the police to frequent," says Dunlap.

He also believes their work paid off. We felt that infiltrating and concentrating in those area forced her to leave the vicinity.

The girl's father along with private investigators and an undercover agent named "Bishop" from Phoenix, Ariz., were joined by friends and members of the community while going door-to-door looking for the girl.

"We went out, and we knocked on doors, and we handed out flyers, and we had the whole community working together to help find this little girl. So, we are coming together today to celebrate the fact that she's home," says Kim Jones, a Columbus resident who helped find the girl.

Her father, who will not reveal his identity, stated, "I went through a lot of suffering and pain, couldn't sleep. I rode the streets for 30 days looking for my daughter. I prayed to God and He sent someone to help me."

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