BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police have arrested a man and woman accused of forcing a 16-year-old girl into prostitution.
23-year-old Heather Lynn Harding and 28-year-old Andre Lamar Russell were charged with human trafficking of a minor. Russell is being held in Howard County without bond, while Harding has been released on $35,000 bond.
The Howard County Police Department began investigating back on May 31, after getting a tip that a man was offering sex with a teenage girl at motels in the Jessup area.
A day after getting the tip, police identified Russell as a suspect, and the next day, saw him with a woman, later identified as Harding, at a motel located in the 7500 block of Assateague Dr. in Jessup.
Police found a 16-year-old girl in their hotel room, and arrested Harding and Russell.
Authorities found that the teen was listed as a runaway, and Russell had offered her a place to say.
Police say Russell then sexually assaulted the girl and forced her to use drugs.
Harding and Russell reportedly set her up with johns, and placed ads on Backpage, which is a site known to be used for prostitution.
The investigation into Harding and Russell is continuing, as police work to determine if they have any additional victims.
Anyone with information about human trafficking in Howard County can call 410-313-STOP or email HCPDcrimetips@howardcountymd.gov.