Seattle police recovered a 16-year-old runaway in Tukwila Thursday night following a prostitution sting on Backpage.com.
According to SPD sources, Vice detectives were checking ads on Backpage.com when detective recognized the teen in an ad from another prostitution case earlier this year.
In the ad, the teen claimed to be 19 years old, and offered to help “take the pain away from a day at work.”
A Vice detective, posing as a john, called the girl and set up a “date” at a Tukwila hotel room, according to police records.
Around 7:15 p.m., the teen arrived at the hotel where she was taken into custody.
According to two sources familiar with details of the investigation, when detectives interviewed the girl, she told them she had posted the ad on Backpage.com herself from a public library in Seattle.
The 16-year-old girl used photos of herself stored on a USB flash drive in her ad, which she paid for using a pre-loaded Visa credit card.
The girl told police she could easily post an ad on Backpage.com in about 10 minutes, a source says.
Police learned the teen had been reported missing in the Seattle area and had an outstanding warrant for theft, so they took the somewhat unusual step of booking her into the Youth Service Center for the theft warrant and for prostitution.
Following the investigation, police asked Backpage.com to remove the teen’s ad.