A trio accused of trafficking underage girls from Iowa City to Chicago for sex earlier this year are on their way to Chicago to face sex trafficking charges after waiving detention.
Malik McKee, 19, and Shuntina McKee, 23, both of Iowa City and formerly of Country Club Hills, Ill., were arrested in Iowa City on Monday and waived detention Tuesday during their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Iowa based in Davenport.
Willie Woods, 41, of Toledo, Ohio, was arrested Friday in Toledo and he waived his detention during his initial appearance on Monday, according to Megan Church, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois.
Church said all three individuals are being moved Chicago, where they likely will be held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The transfer can take a few days, Church said.
No bonds have been set in their cases, and they all will have the option of seeking a preliminary hearing to determine whether the charges are warranted. Their cases could eventually go to trial, but Church said federal cases can take a year or longer to prosecute.
Malik McKee, Shuntina McKee and Woods all faces charges of conspiracy to transport minors across state lines to engage in prostitution. According to a detailed criminal complaint, the defendants used coercion, force and the threat of force to make the three victims – ages 14, 16 and 16 – engage in commercial sex acts in both Iowa City and Chicago.
A criminal complaint made public Tuesday accuses Malik McKee of arranging “dates” for the teens while they were staying at Woods’ house in Iowa City in early April. The minors told investigators that people would come over to have sex for money, and one reported calling McKee “daddy,” according to the complaint.
The girls reportedly gave the money they made to McKee with the belief he was putting it into a bank account that they could access when they turned 18. When one of the girls talked about leaving, according to the complaint, McKee is accused of saying, “Naw, (expletive), you ain’t going nowhere.”
The girls eventually were transported to Chicago, where the dates continued, according to investigators. The 14-year-old girl reported having a date daily for three weeks to a month, according to the complaint.
That girl escaped from her motel room on April 25 and called her mother to report that she was in Chicago being held against her will, according to the complaint. Her report launched the investigation that led to the recent arrests.
None of the suspects have significant criminal records in Iowa, according to online court records.
A Facebook page that appears to belong to Shuntina McKee lists her as a model for Mixed Media Models. On her page, McKee writes that Mixed Media Models is looking for “young women who have what it takes to work in the various aspects of the erotic entertainment industry.”
She asks for photo and video submissions and lists an email and phone number. No one answered at the phone number when a Gazette reporter called on Wednesday.
McKee is friends with a person named Woods Willie out of Toledo, Ohio. That person’s page is filled with vulgar postings. Although he has been posting on the page several times a day recently, his page had no updates in April.On Friday, the day he was arrested, Woods shared nine photos, most of which had sexual references.