ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - A seventh person is now in custody after a human trafficking ring was busted in St. Petersburg. Police say the group held a 16-year-old captive for a year, forced him to live in deplorable conditions, and used him as a sex slave.
This morning, Curtis Gruwell surrendered to authorities. St. Petersburg detectives spent the morning interviewing the 34-year-old, who faces charges of conspiracy to commit human trafficking and interference with custody.
As Gruwell was transferred to the Pinellas County Jail, FOX 13 asked him if he had anything to say about his actions.
FOX 13: “Anything you’d say to those kids?”
GRUWELL: “I f**ked up. I thought I was with good people.”
FOX 13: “What would you say to your parents?
GRUWELL: “They should probably shoot me.”
FOX 13: “What would you say to the parents of those children?”
At a Monday news conference, authorities explained how a 16-year-old boy was repeatedly sexually abused by four men who kept him prisoner inside a mobile home at the Silver Lake Mobile Home community, near Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg.
The teen was rescued in May when police investigated the home looking for a different missing boy, a 17-year-old from Louisiana.
Investigators said the child was lured away from his family through a gaming app called Discord, which allowed the suspects to talk directly to the child and arrange for him to be picked up from his home and brought to a mobile home.
Police are stressing how important it is to know who your children are talking to, and what they are doing while on the internet.