Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Suburban Sex Slaves: Six Shocking Cases

Tranace and Richard Morris

She was almost rescued. Stuffed into the crevice of a sofa bed, the 15-year old runaway teenager was just feet away from police searching the home of Tranace and Richard Morris, the couple who had allegedly been holding her against her will for nearly a year. There on a tip, police looked for signs of the teenager, but found nothing. This was not the first, nor would it be the last time that Police and the F.B.I. would search the same residence for her.

Richard Morris
Richard Morris

It would be nearly a year of captivity before the unidentified girl would escape her captors, a long, hellish year marked by sexual subordination, kidnapping and other crimes against her.

According to news reports, Richard Morris, 28, was in an Internet chat room in 2009, when he first contacted the teen. After an initial virtual meet and greet, during which the girl expressed interest in friendship, addresses were exchanged. The teen willingly went over to Morris's house in Cleveland where he lived with Tranace, and over the course of several months had consensual sex with the couple, but at some point the situation went bad.

Tranace Morris
Tranace Morris

She was reported missing on September 28, 2010. It is not clear if the teen ran away from home, or if she was in some way coerced by the couple.

From September 28, 2010 to June 11, 2011, the girl who had allegedly signed up for a three-way sexual relationship became a captive and a victim. Morris had surveillance cameras installed outside the house and had a police scanner that would alert him when police were on their way.

Prosecutor Bill Mason said: "They had her hiding under like a pull-away couch in which she was hidden from view of the police when the bed was back in, she was in just a little compartment there."

During this time period, the teen allegedly became pregnant, and because police were looking for her, the Morrises allegedly took her to Detroit where, with a fake ID, she was made to have an abortion.

Most horrifying of all, however, the couple, it is alleged by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office, knowingly infected the teenager with HIV.

On June 11, 2011, the three had a violent argument during which the teen fled the home, where six children related to the Morris family also lived, and ran to the neighbors. Donald Davis, a nearby resident, told Fox 8 News: "She ran out of the house, frantic, bleeding everywhere, she had just regained consciousness, saying she was kidnapped."

The couple was arrested and indicted. They are being held in the Cuyahoga County jail, awaiting a trial where they face 14 separate charges, including: kidnapping, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, contributing to unruliness or delinquency of a child, tampering with records and forgery, possessing criminal tools, felonious assault, interference with custody, and more.

 

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