Parents of Orange Park missing teen speak out on trafficking

Her parents fear that her daughter is being exploited in the sex trafficking trade.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Four hundred days without their teenage daughter has two First Coast parents fearing the worst. 

Makayla Rogers, 16, was reported missing to JSO August 20, 2016. Rogers' mother and stepfather Tamara and Jason Larrivee believe she ran away from home, but they don't believe she is still simply hiding.  

Tamara says they are convinced Makayla was transported out of state and is being trafficked against her will.

The teenager's abandoned phone revealed dozens of messages on Snapchat, Facebook, and adult dating sites from older men. JSO's missing person's report shows efforts to locate friends and witnesses but a lack of information led to a suspended case in December of 2016.

The missing person's report says police followed tips in Folkston, GA and a private investigator assisting the family said there were tips about a possible sighting of Makayla in South Carolina.  However, Tamara says after 431 days, the pain has become a constant. 

"There are no words for how empty you feel, it's worse than someone dying," Tamara says. "She was a straight A student, she was so witty and smart."

Makayla was a former student at Orange Park High. Tamara and Jason say they saw their daughter withdraw in the months before she disappeared. She had run away three weeks prior to August 20, 2016 and was found hiding with her boyfriend. This time, police did not find her hiding with anyone in her friend group. 

"If it was a month or 2 maybe [I'd believe she is hiding], but 431 days is a long time to hide," Tamara says. 

Jason says they continue to search and make calls on their daughter's case. 

"I go on the Backpage websites, I start in Miami and work my way all the way to the Carolinas just to see if her picture is there," Jason says. 

Though he hasn't found his daughter, the number of young faces online he says is shocking. 

"You want to get to the men and get a hold of them, JSO hasn't given us the name of the men they found in her phone, with good reason." Jason says.  "She's a kid."

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates 16 percent of runaway children between the ages of 13 and 17 are believed to be victims of sex trafficking.

If you believe you've seen Makayla Rogers or a victim of trafficking contact JSO's missing person's unit at (904) 630-2627 or the National Hotline 1800-THE LOST.

 

Human Trafficking relief and prevention resources in Jacksonville

Open Door Outreach Network at the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center
904-412-8923

Polaris Project National Human Trafficking Hotline
1-888-373-7888

Northeast Florida Human Trafficking Coalition
neflahumantraffickingtaskforce@gmail.com

Women’s Center of Jacksonville
904-721-7273

Jacksonville Sheriffs' Office – Victim Advocate
904-630-1764 or 904-630-7879

Children’s Home Society
904-493-7744

State Attorney’s Office 

904-255-3099 (Human Rights Division)

904-255-2500 (Victim Advocate)

Open Door Outreach is accepting care packages for the survivors they serve.  Contact Macy Degnan at mdegnan@seethegirl.org or call 904.423.1571. Address: 40 East Adams Street, Suite 130.

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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