Ashlee Hattermann has been found safe after running away to Mexico to meet a 29-year-old man! Experts have revealed it appears she was being groomed for sex trafficking.
Ashlee Hattermann, 13, disappeared after getting dropped off at school by her mom on the morning of Dec. 1. Since then, the young teen has thankfully been found. Ashlee was discovered unharmed in Mexico on the evening of Dec. 3 with the help of Mexican authorities. At this time it’s unclear where exactly in the country she was found, but what police do know is that the middle-schooler had been talking to a 29-year-old man online for the past year. “We found a note in her room,” Ashlee’s dad, Keith Hattermann, told KHOU.
In her note, Ashlee “calls the guy ‘daddy’ and herself ‘baby girl,'” Keith revealed, adding that the note said, ” ‘Daddy owns my body and my soul,’ over and over and over again down this sheet of paper.” Keith and Ashlee’s mother, Tiffany Hattermann, knew that their daughter had been communicating with a sex predator, and they said they did what they could to try and stop her. For example, the parents took away her phone and limited her internet access in back May, which is when they discovered Ashlee was sending graphic texts to the man on social media and covert messaging apps. Keith and Tiffany even said they turned her phone over to the Harris County Sheriff Office’s Cyber Crimes Division, but nothing ever came of the investigation.
“There’s been an ongoing case since May of last school year when she was talking online with a sexual predator,” Tiffany told the Houston Chronicle. “It was investigated by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and unfortunately they never followed up with it.” However, a sheriff’s office spokesman denied that the case wasn’t being worked on, and said the case was very much still open. Either way, after Ashlee went missing from school — after attending just one class on Friday — one of her friends came forward and said she had continued to text with the man at school on another iPhone. Her parents have no idea where she got the second iPhone.
FBI San Antonio Laredo office joined in investigation of missing 13-year-old Ashlee Hattermann, last seen in Katy, TX on Friday, 12/1. Ashlee traveled to Laredo, TX & crossed into Mexico late Friday. She is 5'7", 130lbs, long brown hair, blue eyes. Call FBI 210-225-6741 pic.twitter.com/VruKKeNkBd
— FBI SanAntonio (@FBISanAntonio) December 3, 2017
“There was nothing wrong when I dropped her off at school,” Tiffany later recalled. “The only thing that threw me off was she told me she loved me when she got out of the car.” Once Ashlee left school, she went to a greyhound bus station and convinced a stranger to buy her a bus ticket to Laredo, Texas, which is located on the Mexican border. The woman who bought her bus ticket, which was caught on surveillance footage, called police on the morning of Dec. 2, when she saw news reports of the missing girl.
The woman asked to remain anonymous, but she told KHOU that Ashlee told her she was trying to get back to her family in Laredo after spending the week with her boyfriend in Katy. The woman also bought Ashlee lunch. “I asked her how old she was; she said 18,” the woman explained. “She told me she was here all week, visiting her boyfriend. She told me that [her parents] lived in Laredo and that she had been up here to visit her boyfriend and she was trying to get back to her family.”
Police ended up releasing a physical description of Ashlee over the weekend and asked the public for help in locating the teenager. They eventually got a call from Mexican authorities saying they had spotted the girl and were taking her to her dad, who had flown to Mexico City to find his daughter. Experts have said it does seem Ashlee was being groomed for sex trafficking.
“Immediately, it had signs of trafficking 101,” Debi Tengler, chief relations officer with Arrow Child & Family ministries, told the news outlet. “Often times it can be a Romeo relationship or a daddy relationship, where they become the caretaker or protector, the one who values and appreciates that child, building a sense of security in them and oftentimes brainwashing them against their healthy, biological family.” We’re so glad Ashlee was found safe and sound!
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are you surprised Ashlee was found safe and sound?