Couple arraigned on kidnapping, sex-trafficking charges
A Cranston couple -- 29-year-old Niesha Bessell and her boyfriend, 28-year-old Michael Gomes -- appeared in Providence District Court on Thursday to face charges of kidnapping and sex trafficking.
State police said a 24-year-old woman told them she was being held against her will during a routine traffic stop early Wednesday morning in Providence.
The victim, from East Providence, was in the back seat of a car driven by Bessell with Gomes in the passenger seat when she typed a message to responding state troopers on her cell phone and held it up to the window during the traffic stop.
The message said "Get me out of the car." Troopers removed her from the vehicle and after questioning took the suspects into custody.
State police said the questioning revealed that the victim said that Bessell and Gomes kidnapped her and were going to force her into prostitution. Police said she told them that the same kind of treatment had been going on for "some time."
Outside of court, the parents of both suspects said the alleged victim in this case is making it up.
"This is not my son. This is not my son. I know my son. This is not him," said Gomes' mother, Kim.
"The story is a little boggled to me. It just doesn't make sense," said Bessell's father, Barry Sullivan. "If somebody's being kidnapped -- I know if I was being kidnapped and you put me in the back seat, I'm opening the door."
The families of both defendants say the alleged victim in this case knows Gomes and Bessell and actually lived with them on and off. They are confident that the truth will eventually come out.
"I think something got twisted along the way," said Sullivan. "Someone got upset at somebody and maybe that's what it came down to."
"That story is bogus," adds Gomes referring to the allegations. "I don't even want to go into detail, but that story's bogus."