Image Source : http://wnyt.com/wnytimages/repository/2014-07/missing-person–woman.jpg
An aspiring actress made national headlines not once but twice in the same year after a borderline hysterical phone call sparked rumors that she may have been abducted by a Fort Lauderdale, Florida sex trafficking ring. Parents of Edmarie Lafontaine – Perez phoned Fort Lauderdale police from their home in Puerto Rico following the frantic call they received from their daughter who claimed that she feared for her life. The perplexing phone call, which was made from an unlisted number, offset a series of rather baffling events that began with an investigation led by the Department of Homeland Security’s human trafficking division and ended in the Miami-Dade jail. Many details surrounding the story have yet to be disclosed leaving a great deal of unanswered questions as to what really went on during the mysterious disappearance of Edmarie Lafontaine.
Surveillance Footage and a Flight to Fort Lauderdale
At the height of the investigation, surveillance footage of the missing aspiring actress was uncovered and investigated by officials. A man whose name was never released was taken into custody and questioned about the 21-year-old’s disappearance. Details of his response and commentary from his Fort Lauderdale sex crimes attorney was never made public as the search for Lafontaine raged on. Her parents made mention of a conversation they had with their daughter where she had admitted to making an approximated $600 a day in what they referred to as a “phony restaurant”.
Could this so-called phony restaurant have been a front for scandalous sexual activities? Significant changes in Edmarie’s physical appearance seemed to indicate that it was a strong possibility. The woman’s father was so convinced that his daughter had fallen in with the wrong crowd and was being taken advantage of while in pursuit of her acting dream that he scheduled a flight to Fort Lauderdale making public media appearances along the way.
In Prison Under an Alias?
After an exasperating search, officials later discovered that their missing person was hiding in plain sight the entire time. Her parents, the media, authorities and the world were astonished to learn that their suspected victim of abduction was actually in prison throughout the duration of their relentless pursuit. Edmarie Lafontaine – Perez was reportedly booked and jailed on January 27th under the alias Tieres Rodriguez-Perez. She had officially been charged with defrauding an innkeeper, a charge that might appear at first glance a far cry from the sex trade industry.
Motives for Her Actions are Still Unclear
After it became apparent to the media that Lafontaine had not been the victim of any sex crimes, details surrounding her charge disappeared almost as quickly as Lafontaine had. The fact that any individual of native origin or otherwise could manage to be imprisoned under an alias in this day and age with so much modern technology surrounding the judicial system is sketchy in and of itself. Additionally, the fact that the aspiring actress made a phone call in which she expressed a concern for her own well-being could easily have served as her best criminal defense. It is entirely possible that Lafontaine, fearing for her life, defrauded an innkeeper in order to escape a hostile or unsafe environment. Manuela Perez, mother of 21-year-old Edmarie Lafontaine – Perez has released a statement claiming that she is, “unsure how her daughter ended up in jail”.
There has been no word yet from Lafontaine’s attorney in regards to the mystifying series of events surrounding her disappearance. It does seem like there could be much more to the story. A girl who fears for her life vanishes from a hotel and resurfaces in prison under a fake name. Something about this tale suggests that some key information has been extracted. Just because someone who once was lost has now been found in an unexpected place doesn’t mean the details should be overlooked.
About the Author:
Michael D. Leader is a criminal lawyer with Fort Lauderdale law firm Leader & Leader P.A. specializing in all forms of criminal law, Leader and partner George Leader offer years of legal experience and commitment to ethics.