Tarrant County couple face federal charge of sex-trafficking of a child

Posted Wednesday, Mar. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A 15-year-old referred to as "Jewel" frequently had sex with adult clients at the Motel 6, Scottish Inn and Baymont Inn on Interstate 35W in south Fort Worth.

The standard fees were $120 for 30 minutes, $160 for 60 minutes.

And to protect her, Deundrea R. Miller, 27, of Fort Worth sat in a car in a parking lot near the motel room where "Jewel" took her customer and Brittanie S. Brattain, 21, of Saginaw remained in the room's bathroom.

According to a federal criminal complaint, that was the operation that Miller and Brattain conducted from September until January with "Jewel," who was recruited and maintained by the couple until the girl ran away from them in January.

The complaint obtained by the Star-Telegram on Wednesday comes a day after Miller and Brattain were each charged with a federal count of sex-trafficking of a child.

The two remained in federal custody Wednesday. If convicted, they face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Days before they were charged on the federal counts, the two had been in custody on unrelated state charges. Brattain was being held on a state charge of promotion of prostitution.

This Tarrant County federal case represents a growing problem in Texas and the United States.

According to the FBI, an estimated 230,000 youths in the United States are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of these victims are runaways or so-called thrown-away youths.

The federal criminal complaint in the Tarrant County case gave this account:

"Jewel" met Brattain on a morning in September and accompanied her to the Motel 6 at Oakland Street and Interstate 30 in Fort Worth. In a room there, she met Miller, who she later came to know as "D" or "D Magic." An infant also was in the room, but the federal complaint did not say who the child's parents were.

Brattain undressed "Jewel" down to her panties, placed a silver necklace on her and began to take photographs.

Miller then used the photos in an advertisement on an Internet site known as Backpage.com.

That same night "Jewel" had sex with three men who gave Brattain the money. Each time, Brattain told the men that "Jewel" was "new" and requested that they not hurt her.

The next morning, Miller woke "Jewel" and drove her to a residence in Fort Worth where she had sex with a man who paid $75. "Jewel" handed Miller all the money, the federal complaint says.

For the next couple of months, that was "Jewel's" life in Fort Worth.

"Jewel" and Brattain, who called herself "Princess," "Beauty" and "Haylee," advertised on Backpage.com, meeting customers at hotels along Interstate 35W. Miller paid for the rooms using the identity of a cousin. And the infant also was with the couple, the complaint says.

In addition to hotel rooms, Miller took "Jewel" to a duplex on Trail Lake Drive in Fort Worth to have sex with men.

For months, multiple photo images of a provocative "Jewel" were used in ads, saying such things as "Hello Boys Im New To This && Ready to Bring Some Excitement Into Your Life! Im Very Friendly" and "I Only See Respectful Gentlemen & Hygiene Is a MUST!".

During the time she was detained by the couple, "Jewel" told federal agents that Miller verbally and physically abused her.

She ran away from the couple in January, but she was later detained by Tarrant County juvenile authorities in Fort Worth and eventually told officials what had happened to her.

Armed with warrants, federal agents obtained the Brattain's and Miller's smart phones. On Brattain's phone, agents found "D Magic's" email address, transactions with Backpage.com and ads displaying images of "Jewel" in a lewd and lascivious manner, the agents said.

On Miller's smart phone, agents also discovered provocative photo images of "Jewel" and data logs indicating that his phone had connected to several wireless networks including one at the Scottish Inn on Jan. 4.

The federal charge against Brattain came just days after she had been sentenced to seven years in prison for violating her probation on the promotion of prostitution charge out of Arlington.

Miller has been arrested five times in Tarrant County on state charges since 2003. The charges have ranged from drug possession to failure to identify and failure to stop at an accident.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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