A North Carolina man has been arrested after holding a woman and her 8-month-old baby captive for over a month, authorities said.
The Pender County Sheriff’s department said in a press release they received an emergency call on 9 August from a woman who said she was being held against her will at a home in Willard, North Carolina.
Deputies responding to the call found a 24-year-old woman and her infant child, both unnamed, being held by James Bryan Peterson, 54, who had apparently kept them for weeks. The woman was able to make the call after being allowed to go outside for sunlight.
Police initially arrested Peterson on charges of assaulting a woman, sexual battery, and assault by pointing a gun, and released him on 10 August.
But a search warrant of his home led to a second arrest, which saw him charged with several more counts, including with human trafficking, first-degree kidnapping, involuntary servitude and sexual servitude. Authorities say Peterman was continuously assaulting the 24-year-old mother as “sex slave”.
He is currently being held in the Pender County Jail. His bail is set at $2m.
The victims are thought to have been kidnapped around 4 July 4. According to a police report, Peterson tasered the woman with a stun gun at the time, in the stomach, back, and thigh.
The victims are from Honduras. NBC reports that they may have been trafficked to the United States.