CYPRESS, TEXAS - A Cypress man, accused of kidnapping an underaged girl and locking her in storage unit for several days, is now behind bars. Authorities worry there could be more victims.
Investigators say this was a man the family recognized.
34-year-old Joel Micah Arnold was arrested Wednesday, charged with three felonies: aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault and trafficking a child.
Investigators say the disturbing allegations began on March 27 when Arnold kidnapped a 17-year-old girl from his Cypress neighborhood.
"He had worked a relationship with her over time so there was a certain level of some comfort with him. He threatened to harm her sister if she didn’t go with him," said Alan Rosen, Harris County Pct. 1 Constable.
Authorities say Arnold took the teen against her will to the Affordable Boat & RV Storage on FM 529 in Cypress and locked her inside the shed. The storage facility was located just down the road from their neighborhood.
For the next five days, investigators say Arnold would tout his firearm, forcibly inject the girl with drugs and rape her until one day, she managed to escape.
"He was talking on his phone or communicating and left it somewhere and she was able to reach out to a friend. He saw her doing that and got scared and fled and didn’t lock her in the shed. Thankfully and she was able to escape as well," Rosen said.
Fortunately, the girl is alive and well. But investigators worry there are other victims too scared to come forward.
"We found a lot of physical evidence on him of people’s ID's, credit cards, checks, of people that were random people. We want to make sure that after the public actually sees his picture that they weren’t in fact somehow victimized by him as well," Rosen said.
Arnold's bond was set at $100,000 for each of the three charges against him, a total of $300,000.
Rosen's message to parents is to get involved and monitor your children’s activities. Although this case did not start online, he said a lot of other trafficking cases do.
Pct. 1 Constables are also urging anyone with information about this suspect or other potential victims to call the Precinct One Human Trafficking Hotline at (832) 927-1650.