BOONE COUNTY – A woman accused of sex trafficking her teenage daughter has been arrested in Columbia, along with her boyfriend, also a suspect.
The mother, 49-year-old Renee Collins, faces charges including sexual trafficking of a child and endangering the welfare of a child creating a substantial risk. Her bond was set at $200,000.
William Thomas Jr., Collins’ boyfriend, is charged with rape. Neither were in custody as of Wednesday morning.
The investigation began last year after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children got a tip about possible trafficking. That tip said the girl was “being left in hotel rooms with strange men.”
According to court documents, a witness at the hotel told police the child – who has cerebral palsy, autism, and deafness – had been left with strangers for long periods of time. The witness said the teenager also has a “diminished mental capacity” of a two or three year old. They also told police they believed the teenager had been drugged once by Collins and Thomas.
Police said they learned about one instance, in which two men reportedly offered Collins cocaine in exchange for sex with the girl.
Police said they took the girl into protective custody. During the investigation, police said, investigators said the corroborated claims they had been raped by men after they offered Collins cocaine; in at least one case, the “bad men” put a needle in the girl’s arm as well, court documents said.
The probable cause statement said, at one point, the child referred to Thomas as one of the “bad men,” and described sexual contact with the suspect. The teenager also said Collins would loan them to men at hotels in exchange for money and “medicine.” After sex, the men would then put the “medicine” in the teenager’s arm with a needle the documents said,
Warrants have been issued for Collins and Thomas. No other suspects have been identified at this point.
Nanette Ward, founder of Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, said cases like this happen in plain sight every day.