1 arrested and 1 wanted in local human trafficking case

Suspects kidnapped Bakersfield juvenile

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A man was arrested and authorities are searching for another man accused of kidnapping and human trafficking of a Bakersfield juvenile.

On Tuesday, Jan. 8, Bakersfield police officers said a female juvenile left her house and met with 19-year-old Shanell Smith of Reno, Nevada. 

Officers said Smith lured the juvenile to a store on Brundage Lane, where 19-year-old Vernon McCullum was waiting in a vehicle.The juvenile was then taken to a motel where she had sexual intercourse with McCullum.

On Wednesday, Jan. 9, the juvenile was refused a ride to school by the suspects, officials said.  

The men then drove north on Highway 99 towards Tulare County.  When the juvenile tried to escape, officers said the men used physical force to keep her from leaving. Smith also showed a knife and pepper spray.

The victim was then taken to a motel in Reno, Nevada, where she was forced into prostitution and posed for several nude photos.  The suspects continued to refuse her freedom, officials said.

Officials didn't release information as to how McCullum was arrested, but they were able to arrest him and booked him on charges of human trafficking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, criminal threats, unlawful sexual intercourse, conspiracy and publishing child pornography.

Smith is wanted for questioning on charges of human trafficking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, criminal threats, conspiracy, and publishing child pornography.

Anyone with information is urged to call the BPD at 327-7111.

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