An Elk Grove teen is back home and safe after she says an online relationship led to being forced into prostitution.
“I’ve very happy, like I’m blessed to be back home. That’s all I wanted after I left,” Katie Kountz told FOX40. “The second day I wanted to get in contact with them.”
But it would be 36 days before 17-year-old Katie would be able to get help for herself, held against her will and forced into prostitution.
Katie had left her home with a man she met on the internet. Her parents didn’t know where she was all this time and feared the worst.
That night she disappeared, Katie and a man she identified as her pimp, were captured on surveillance at Walmart.
“He basically sold me a dream, that I knew wasn’t gonna come true. He was telling me we were gonna get married, that I was gonna get my Range Rover that I wanted and all of this, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen,” she said.
Katie was now far from home, trapped into working at a motel in Salinas.
“It’s scary. You don’t know what to do. You wanna call the cops but I had no way to,” she said. “And I didn’t want them to shoot me or anything, because they were saying that snitches get murdered.”
She kept the faith that she would be with her family and friends again. An opportunity came Monday, when she got access to a cell phone.
“O.K., this is my chance. I got in contact with Liz (a friend) and I told her, ‘Tell my mom that I’m O.K. and I wanna come home.’”
Liz got ahold of Katie’s mom, who then got ahold of police.
“I was so relieved. I didn’t think that it would actually be her. I thought someone was playing with me,” Liz said.
After more than an hour on the phone, things came together – Salinas Police arrived in force, armed and suited for the worst.
“I was so happy that they came and got me. Thank God I’m getting out of this,” Katie said.
“The first thing she said to me was, ‘Mom I love you. I’m so sorry,’” Sandy Koutz, Katie’s mother said.
Kountz hopes Elk Grove Police will handle things differently when it comes to teens who leave on their own, because it doesn’t mean they can’t be in danger.