2 suspects plead not guilty in teen human trafficking case

Posted at 2:19 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 14:19:27-04

CINCINNATI — Two of the three people accused of human trafficking a teenage girl pleaded not guilty in Knox County, Kentucky Thursday morning, WCPO news partner LEX18 reported.

Tiffany Cheek, 29, and Michael Nason, 34, appeared via video conference to make their pleas in the case. They and 27-year-old Carl Hickman, who is currently jailed in Cincinnati on drug charges, are accused of luring a 16-year-old into a U-Haul truck under false pretenses last weekend.

Investigators said Nason locked himself in the back of the truck with the girl, forced her to take drugs and raped her as Cheek and Hickman drove to Cincinnati, LEX18 reported. Police found the girl in the back of the truck in a Cincinnati parking lot Saturday.

When a Knox County deputy went to retrieve the girl, he learned that she wasn't a runaway, but a victim of a sex crime, authorities said.

"If all this wouldn't have happened, I'm not sure she would've made it back to Corbin," Knox County Sheriff's Sgt. Carl Frith told LEX18.

A Knox County judge set the bond for Cheek and Nason at $100,000 each Thursday.

Hickman is still being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center with bond set at $1,000 for each of five charges. A court date in his Ohio case is set for May 9. He's also facing extradition back to Kentucky on charges related to the human trafficking case.