Deerfield Beach man lured women into becoming sex slaves, investigators say

A Deerfield Beach man is facing human trafficking and other charges after he lured women from throughout the country under false pretenses and then forced them into prostitution in South Florida, authorities said.

Robert Miner, 27, was arrested last week in Palm Beach County.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained Wednesday by Local 10 News, Miner intimidated and, in some instances, physically harmed women after luring them through an escort service that he operated called Candy Girls of Miami.

One woman claimed that “she was tricked into working as a prostitute for Miner,” who collected all the money for himself.

Another woman told authorities that “she was raped at knifepoint by Miner and subsequently forced to perform acts of prostitution on his behalf.”

Yet another woman said “Miner tricked her and manipulated her into working for him as a prostitute and required her to turn over all the proceeds of the commercial sex acts to him.” She went on to describe how Miner “flew her to Las Vegas to be prostituted and directed her to get a tattoo of his name branded on to her arm.”

“Several victims explained that Miner created a climate of fear, where the victim was spoken to in such a manner where she believed physical harm would come to her if she tried to disobey Miner,” the affidavit said.

In one instance, Miner beat a woman into submission, she told authorities, recalling how Miner told her that “he had a gun and that if she tried anything dishonest with him, he would make sure something bad would happen to her.”

Investigators determined that Miner was laundering the women’s money, depositing their earnings into his bank accounts “to pay for his car, his residence, his utilities and other personal purchases.”

The joint investigation between the FBI, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Broward Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement began in July 2016, when a 19-year-old woman told West Palm Beach police that she was recruited and tricked into prostitution by Miner. She said she had applied for a job as a dancer but was told by Miner that he only had openings for “companions.”

Miner explained that his goal for her in his “program” was to earn $20,000 in a month as a companion so that she could use the money to buy a car and a condominium in South Florida, the affidavit said.

Miner picked her up and drove her to Broward County, where she began prostituting herself under his tutelage, she told authorities. Despite her reluctance, the woman continued to stay and work for Miner in the hopes that she would receive what was promised to her.

“In fact, she never received any of the money for her personal benefit, never received a residence, never received a car and was forced to live in hotels and work as a prostitute at Miner’s direction,” the affidavit said.

A 22-year-old woman told investigators a similar story. The woman said that she was recruited by Miner from Atlanta and told that she needed to complete a 30-day program in which the money earned would be used to help her buy a car and a home in South Florida. Instead, she engaged in acts of prostitution at a La Quinta hotel under Miner’s direction and never received the money that she was promised, the woman told authorities.

Another 22-year-old woman called Fort Lauderdale police in June 2017, saying that she had just fled from a La Quinta hotel where she was forced into prostitution. The woman told investigators that she had traveled from Orlando after being offered a modeling job by Miner, who called himself “Jason.” She said Miner raped her at knifepoint in a Best Western hotel in Dania Beach before forcing her to have sex with about 100 men there and at the nearby La Quinta over the next four days.

In another incident, an 18-year-old woman from Rochester, New York, traveled to South Florida in 2015 after answering an advertisement on Craigslist for an exotic dancer. She said Miner arranged for her travel and then told her that she would have to start as an escort.

“I’m a pimp, you’re a ho, and you’re going to be getting money,” she said Miner told her.

The woman said Miner took her to a DoubleTree in West Palm Beach and trained her on how to be a prostitute. She said Miner referred to the money that she would be receiving as “donations” and forced her to have sex with so many “dirty dudes” that she would cry after each appointment. She said there were so many men because Miner  “charged so little for the customers to have sex with her.”

She told investigators that Miner eventually began a sexual relationship with her and started identifying her as his girlfriend. She said he asked her to get a tattoo of his first name on her, telling her that he “never trusted another girl as much as her” and that they were “destined” to be together.

Miner told her that he had “a lot of girls working from him” who came from as far away as Texas and Colorado, she told investigators. She said Miner recruited all of them through his websites.

A warrant for Miner’s arrest was issued Oct. 17. He was booked into the main Palm Beach County jail Sunday on charges that include kidnapping, sexual assault, human trafficking and money laundering.

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UF student from South Florida dies after falling from apartment balcony

A 20-year-old University of Florida student has died in a fall from a third-floor balcony at an apartment complex, authorities said.

Gainesville Police Department Lt. Paris Owens told news outlets that witnesses called police when they saw Ian Burns fall shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday at the University House Apartments near the main campus.

An incident report said Burns was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital. It didn’t indicate when he died.

The report also didn’t say how Burns fell.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that Burns attended Suncoast Community High School in Riviera Beach and his family currently lives in West Palm Beach.

The Gainesville Sun reported that Burns was studying mechanical engineering. 
  

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PBSO lieutenant’s son accused of stealing father’s car, robbing ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend

The son of a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant was arrested Saturday in Broward County, accused of stealing his father’s unmarked car to terrorize his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend.

Christopher Combs, 22, faces charges of false imprisonment and impersonating a law enforcement officer.

According to an arrest warrant, Combs was driving his father’s PBSO-issued Ford Taurus when he turned on the car’s emergency lights and pulled over his ex-girlfriend, Jamie DiCarlo, and her boyfriend, Robert Roberts, early Saturday near Pompano Beach. The driver of the car ordered Roberts out of his pickup truck.

DiCarlo told Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies that she immediately recognized the voice on the car’s intercom as Combs. She said Combs ordered Roberts to get on the ground and empty his pockets, at one point hearing Combs laughing over the intercom.

According to the warrant, Combs got out of the car and placed “what appeared to be a metal object to the back of Mr. Roberts’ head, before stealing his property.”

DiCarlo said she was also ordered out of the car and onto the ground before Combs drove away. DiCarlo told deputies that she dated Combs, who is a PBSO cadet, for about five years and recently broke up with him. She said Combs’ father “drives the same exact style Ford Taurus unmarked police car.”

When deputies questioned Combs’ father, he told them that his son had the car, which was parked at a friend’s house. He said his son told him that it “had not moved all day.”

Deputies went to where the car was parked and noticed that it “was still hot to the touch as if it was recently driven.”

Combs admitted that he was in possession of the car at the time of the robbery, but he denied ever driving it that day.

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PBSO lieutenant’s son accused of stealing father’s car, robbing ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend

The son of a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant was arrested Saturday in Broward County, accused of stealing his father’s unmarked car to terrorize his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend.

Christopher Combs, 22, faces charges of false imprisonment and impersonating a law enforcement officer.

According to an arrest warrant, Combs was driving his father’s PBSO-issued Ford Taurus when he turned on the car’s emergency lights and pulled over his ex-girlfriend, Jamie DiCarlo, and her boyfriend, Robert Roberts, early Saturday near Pompano Beach. The driver of the car ordered Roberts out of his pickup truck.

DiCarlo told Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies that she immediately recognized the voice on the car’s intercom as Combs. She said Combs ordered Roberts to get on the ground and empty his pockets, at one point hearing Combs laughing over the intercom.

According to the warrant, Combs got out of the car and placed “what appeared to be a metal object to the back of Mr. Roberts’ head, before stealing his property.”

DiCarlo said she was also ordered out of the car and onto the ground before Combs drove away. DiCarlo told deputies that she dated Combs, who is a PBSO cadet, for about five years and recently broke up with him. She said Combs’ father “drives the same exact style Ford Taurus unmarked police car.”

When deputies questioned Combs’ father, he told them that his son had the car, which was parked at a friend’s house. He said his son told him that it “had not moved all day.”

Deputies went to where the car was parked and noticed that it “was still hot to the touch as if it was recently driven.”

Combs admitted that he was in possession of the car at the time of the robbery, but he denied ever driving it that day.

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South Florida nanny faces DUI charge after crashing car with boy in child seat

A South Florida nanny was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after she crashed a car with a child inside.

Elyse Tilley, 27, was arrested after the Oct. 10 crash at the intersection of North Dixie Highway and Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton.

According to a Boca Raton police report, Tilley was behind the wheel of a red Nissan Versa that was changing lanes when it crashed into a black Hyundai Santa Fe.

Police said Tilley was driving a young boy in a child seat that wasn’t properly secured.

Multiple people called 911 to report the crash, including the driver of the Santa Fe, who called Tilley an “idiot.”

“Just so you know, there’s a baby involved,” another 911 caller said. “She didn’t have the car seat strapped in. The car seat’s all flipped over.”

Police said Tilley “was twitching, crying, scratching and appeared to be anxious.” She was arrested after failing a roadside sobriety test.

During a search of the car, police found several prescription pill bottles on the front passenger seat.

Police said one of the pills was prescribed to her, but the other was prescribed to another woman whom Tilley claimed was her roommate.

Tilley was arrested on charges of DUI causing property damage, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and child neglect.

The child was taken to a hospital to be treated for minor bumps to his head.

Tilley was released from jail the next day on a $12,000 bond.

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South Florida woman says neighbor raped her, then talked to her about life

A South Florida woman told deputies that she woke up early Friday to find a masked man armed with a knife leaning over her bed. She said the man raped her and then spent the rest of the time before he left talking to her, revealing himself to be her neighbor.

Timothy Walding, 18, of Boynton Beach, was arrested on charges of armed sexual battery and false imprisonment.

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, the woman was sleeping in her master bedroom upstairs when she was awakened by a masked man hovering over her. She said the man tied her hands together, undressed her, put on a condom and raped her.

After about 10 minutes, the intruder then forced the woman onto her knees and made her perform oral sex on him, she told deputies.

The woman was crying and pleaded with the intruder not to kill her, so he assured her that he wasn’t going to kill her and then put the knife in a holster on the side of his pants, the report said.

After the ordeal, the intruder spent the rest of the time before he left talking to her, taking the time to put her underwear and shorts back on her, she told deputies.

“(The intruder) kept telling her that she knew him,” the report said.

She said her attacker “continued talking to her about his life” and said he couldn’t imagine leaving two children without a mother. She said he told her how his mother died when he was 12, and the more he spoke, the more she realized that he was “very young.”

Finally, she asked the man if he was Walding, who lives on the same street as her, so he took off his mask and revealed his identity, the report said.

The woman asked Walding how he got inside her house, and he told her that he came in through the front door.

“You really should deadbolt your door because I didn’t really want to do this, but I had to do it,” Walding said, according to the report.

Walding then pulled a fish hook out of his pocket and said he used it to pick the door lock, the report said.

“The suspect told her that he stood outside of her front door for 10 minutes contemplating whether he should do this or not,” the report said.

When asked why he decided to do it, Walding answered, “Obviously, it wasn’t a spontaneous thing and I had this plan,” the report said.

The woman was able to talk Walding into untying her hands and letting her onto the back patio so she could smoke a cigarette, the report said.

While they were outside, Walding said he couldn’t go back home because he didn’t know what to do and then asked her “if he could make this up to her by doing some yard work or by fixing something around her house,” the woman told deputies.

She said no, and Walding then asked her if they could shake hands so that he would know that she wasn’t going to say anything to anyone about what happened, the report said. She agreed and they shook hands, she told deputies.

The woman watched Walding walk back to his house, then locked the doors and called 911, she said.

Deputies went to Walding’s home and arrested him. He was being held without bond Thursday morning at the main Palm Beach County jail.

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