Sheriff: Knox County human trafficking victim 'had a lot of emotional trauma'

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Two of three Knox County suspects accused of kidnapping a teenager and taking her from her home and locking her in a U-Haul truck appeared in court Tuesday.

During the court hearing, it became apparent Tiffany Cheek and Michael Nason wouldn't receive any leniency from the judge, as Knox County District Judge Skip Hammons denied lowering their $100,000 cash bonds.

“As far as the bond, I’m going to object to any kind of bond," Hammons said. "These are very serious allegations.”

Cheek is accused of luring the 16-year-old while pretending to be her guardian, and Nason is accused of raping the girl while she was locked in the truck. The girl was found in Cincinnati.

Nason and Cheek are both charged with unlawful transaction with a minor, custodial interference, kidnapping a minor, human trafficking, unlawful imprisonment and trafficking in a controlled substance. The third suspect, Carl Hickman, remains in the Hamilton County, Ohio jail on drug charges while he awaits extradition to Kentucky. Hickman will face the same charges as Cheek. Nason also faces the third-degree rape charge.

Sheriff Mike Smith said the victim was emotionally affected by what happened when she was kidnapped.

“[I] don’t know how well she was treated with them. She has had a lot of emotional trauma out of this," Smith said.

Deputies are still investigating the case, and more people could be arrested in connection.

"We obviously want to get to the bottom of it and see if there is a web or anything like that...apprehend everyone we can find with this," Smith said.

The 16-year-old victim is back home with her family.

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