Three brothers were arrested Thursday and charged with human trafficking and related offenses, The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office reports.
According to the sheriff's department, they opened an investigation in mid-March 2020 after a 15-year-old runaway from Lancaster County was found in neighboring Chesterfield County.
Deputies said she was returned to the City of Lancaster by an officer of the Lancaster Police Department and relayed information to him which led to the opening of this investigation by the sheriff’s office.
The victim reported that she ran away on March 14 and was walking along a roadway east of Lancaster when she was picked up by a man later identified as 50-year-old David Louis Hayden of Lancaster.
Deputies said she was taken to an apparently unoccupied house on the east side before being taken to a mobile home on Logging Road where she stayed for two days and nights. During this time the victim reported that she was supplied with alcohol and drugs and engaged in sex acts with several men and was given cash. The victim left the location and was later found in Chesterfield County.
Investigators with the sheriff’s office enlisted the assistance of agents from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. Information obtained during the investigation led to the identification of David Hayden and the location of the mobile home on Logging road, where David Hayden’s brothers 46-year-old Christopher Hayden and 49-year-old Michael Hayden reside.
Thursday morning a search warrant was served at that mobile home and on David Hayden’s automobile, and the men were taken into custody.
Christopher Hayden and Michael Hayden are charged with trafficking in persons, criminal sexual conduct with a minor second degree, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. David Hayden is charged with trafficking in persons, criminal sexual conduct with a minor first degree, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. All three appeared before a magistrate, and bond was denied.
Sheriff Barry Faile said, “This was an exhaustive investigation. When it began we had little to go on. This victim is a courageous young lady, and she provided us enough pieces of the puzzle that investigators were able to put together the picture and identify the men and the location involved. These men preyed upon a particularly vulnerable young person and committed atrocious crimes against her. I am most appreciative of the efforts of our investigators and those of SLED, HSI, and the Attorney General’s Office.”
Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or contact Midlands Crimestoppers in one of the following ways: dial 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372), log onto www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and click on the “Submit a Tip” tab, or download the P3