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Sexual ads still appearing on Jacksonville Backpage 2 months after adult services section shut down

Action News Jax is investigating how a young woman with special needs was reportedly trafficked for sex in Jacksonville on Backpage.com two months after the website shut down its adult services section.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office rescued the woman and arrested her accused traffickers on Monday night at Baymont Inn & Suites in Argyle Forest.

LOCAL NEWS: Owner of Shep's Discount Store in Jacksonville arrested in connection to multistate cargo theft ring

The young woman disappeared from her special needs class at school more than a month ago.

On Wednesday, a judge set bonds for Tamia Oliver and Demontre Clark, who JSO said were trafficking the young woman and pocketing all the cash.

In January, Backpage shut down its adult services section under pressure from the federal government, but the sexual ads haven’t stopped.

More than 60 ads for massages were posted on Backpage’s Jacksonville site on Wednesday.

It’s clear from the descriptions that most of them are not of the therapeutic variety.

A quick search of the massage section yields post after post for “new young and hot girls” and “yummy complete body rub.”

One post specified it’s a “mutual touch” massage.

The “dating” section is even more vulgar, with explicit photos and intimate descriptions.

“It’s just a façade that it’s been shut down,” said Action News Jax crime & safety expert Ken Jefferson.

A former sex crimes investigator, Jefferson said it’s likely there are more local sex trafficking victims being advertised on the website.

“Backpage.com knows exactly what they’re doing. They may say they’ve shut down the adult services section. There’s always another way to get around what they really want to accomplish, and that’s what’s happening now,” Jefferson said.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said 73 percent of the trafficking tips it gets involve Backpage.

EXCLUSIVE: Man convicted of killing Shelby Farah breaks his silence

Jefferson said police have a new tool to target the men who took advantage of the young woman rescued on Monday night.

Officers found her cellphone, which they said was being used by her captors to communicate with men for sex. Jefferson said that phone could lead to more arrests.

“This kind of gives them a head start on apprehending these johns,” said Jefferson.

At a meeting last week to discuss ways to combat human trafficking in Jacksonville, multiple victim advocates brought up the need to target the demand.

“First, you’ve got to find the victim. And then you’ve got to find the perpetrators who are employing the victims. And then you’ve got to work your way back to the johns. So this is one way to try to make a dent in it, to get the johns off the street,” Jefferson said. “I like to think that there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on persons who can’t fend for themselves.”

The young woman’s mother told police her daughter could not have written the Backpage.com post advertising herself for sex, because she cannot spell or count money.

’House of horrors’ property raises neighbors’ concerns

The man accused of killing a woman whose body was found at his Southside home waived his right to a speedy trial.

Russell Tillis is charged with the murder of 31-year-old Joni Gunter. Police found her dismembered body on his property, known as a "house of horrors."

The property has been sold, but neighbors say there are still problems there.

“We got people that come by just to pick some things for souvenirs because it’s the 'house of horrors,'” David Eichenlaub said.

>> Read more trending news

Eichenlaub said neighbors called the mayor’s office and Gov. Rick Scott. On Wednesday, they finally started to see some action taken.

“We’re just glad it’s getting cleaned up. It needs to be cleaned up,” Eichenlaub said.

He said the worst part was that people would party in a trailer on the property at night and it smells like chemicals.

We reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, where a spokesperson said there have been six calls for service to the address since the first of this year, four calls for property checks and two for suspicious people.

“I have to run them off all the time,” Eichenlaub said.

We also reached out to the city, which said the current owner was cited by code enforcement on Feb. 8 for garbage and debris on the property.

The city said since the owner didn’t follow through with the cleanup, the city stepped in to clean it, and the owner is responsible for the cost.

We called the owner of the property, who said she did hire someone to clean up the property but they didn’t realize just how big a project this was.

She said she has been in contact with the city and agreed to them cleaning it up.

Sentencing scheduled for man allegedly dating teen, guilty of child porn

Quick Facts:

 

Trending Now on FOX23.com

Nail Salon Allegedly Charged Overweight People More

Nail Salon Allegedly Charged Overweight People More

Rescue Dog Saves 3-Year-Old Girl Found In Ditch

Rescue Dog Saves 3-Year-Old Girl Found In Ditch

Updated: Nassau County wildfire now 65 percent contained

PHOTO GALLERY: Dozens of images of wildfire from the air, ground 

A 400-acre wildfire in Nassau County is 65 percent contained, according to the Florida Forest Service on Thursday morning.

Firefighters have been working since Wednesday on a wildfire in Bryceville that was accidentally started by someone illegally burning paperback books, officials said.

Florida Forest Service said they identified the person who started the fire and will be financially responsible for damages. 

There might be some challenges in extinguishing the fire since strong winds are expected Thursday afternoon, officials said.

10 to 15 homes destroyed in Nassau County wildfire; evacuation order still in place

Firefighters said that 150 people are displaced and an evacuation order is still in place. A shelter is open at Bryceville Baptist Church for anyone displaced by the fire. 

Florida Forest Service said this is the worst massive wildfire for the county since 1998.

Firefighters have been working early Thursday morning to contain the fire along the eastern edges of the fire line and spots at CR 121 and 119. The fire department has been putting out hot spots around houses.

Officials said the area is not safe for residents since a lot of power lines have been damaged during the fire.

Road closures are in effect at several locations at CR 121 near US-90, Stokes Road and Canard Road. There's also a closure at US 119 and David Hunt Road.

Crews from Georgia have arrived to assist local firefighters. 

The fairgrounds are open for residents that need to shelter livestock and animals. 

RAW VIDEO: Helicopter video from Nassau County wildfire

WATCH: Water-bottle challenge is out; this trend's flipping in

If you thought the water-bottle flipping was annoying, wait until you see the latest trend. 

It’s called the Cup Blowing Challenge. Watch and — maybe — be amazed. 

The goal is to blow one plastic cup into the other one. 

Everyone from students... 

.. to news anchors are trying the challenge. 

People are even mixing trends (watch until the end).

And, for the masters, there is even an extreme version. 

Whether it’s science or magic, one thing is for sure, this trend is just getting started. 

Leukemia Disguised As Strep Throat Kills 10-Year-Old Girl

Leukemia Disguised As Strep Throat Kills 10-Year-Old Girl

Pres. Trump tweets video to gain support for health care vote

President Donald Trump has used his traditional pipeline to the people to help gain support for his plan to abolish Obamacare.

>> Read more trending news 

Hours before the vote is set to begin, Trump posted a video that spells out what he says were lies given to the American people when the Affordable Care Act went into existence while not explaining what his proposed American Health Care Act, or AHCA, does.

Trump also encourages people to call lawmakers to show their support of AHCA.

NBC News reported that he does not have enough votes to pass the AHCA, but negotiations went into the night.

The House is scheduled to vote on the plan Thursday. 

Domestic violence suspect bites Tulsa officer

Quick Facts:

  • Police responded to a domestic fight with a gun around 1:30 a.m. near Pine and Yale
  • When officers arrived, the suspect bit an officer on the hand
  • The victim allegedly declined to cooperate as a victim of domestic violence
  • The suspect was still arrested, jailed on complaints of assault on police and obstruction
  • TPD identified the suspect as Manuel Garcia-Perez
 

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