MEMPHIS, Tenn. (NewsNation Now) — The FBI is asking for any potential victims or witnesses to come forward as it investigates two truck drivers accused of kidnapping women and holding them for ransom.
According to the FBI, agents arrested 25-year-old long-haul trucker Brian Summerson of Dillon, South Carolina, on charges including battery and false imprisonment.
In a release published in early April, the agency said Summerson drove routes spanning I-95 from New Jersey to Miami and Chicago to Kansas City, and investigators found photos, videos, and text evidence regarding women on his electronic devices.
The FBI also identified a second suspect as 35-year-old Pierre Washington of Chicago, who owns a trucking company called God Got Me LLC. They said Washington was arrested in March 2021, “in reference to an ongoing investigation.”
According to the FBI, the men would hold women against their will, transport them across state lines while coercing them to work as prostitutes. If they refused, they would allegedly extort money from their families for the women’s return.
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“There is a lot of shame and embarrassment around making reports that have any connectivity to sexual assault,” said former FBI crisis negotiator Phil Andrew. “We see that across the board with, you know, in colleges, universities, in the settings around young people, but where there’s violence involved. It really is important for folks to come forward to make sure that this doesn’t happen to others and that they don’t continue to be traumatized and victimized by this individual.”
Whitney Fullerton works with Lisieux Community — an organization that provides support for women who have survived trauma, addiction, and prostitution in Memphis.
“The beatings are daily. The trauma is daily,” said Fullerton. “It’s trauma on top of trauma on top of trauma on top of trauma. And once you’ve been so traumatized and so beaten down… It’s getting harder and harder and harder to keep hope alive.”
The FBI is asking any victims or witnesses to reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.