Found Safe TX - A.C. & E.S. Missing from McGregor, James Robert Vanhouten Arrested

Unalienable Rights

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WACO, Texas — *Editor's note: Due to the fact that they are minors, 6 News has removed the names of the two teens who were at the center of this now-expired Amber Alert.*

More charges and arrests are to be expected in connection to the disappearance of two McGregor girls, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said during a news conference Tuesday.

Both girls, 14, were found in Georgetown early Tuesday morning. They were first reported missing on June 29.

McLennan County Detective Joseph Scaramucci said they were with James Robert Van Houten, 30, who was arrested in this case. Van Houten was charged with two counts of harboring a runaway child. McNamara said Van Houten would likely face additional charges.

During a news conference Tuesday, McNamara said there were multiple people involved in the girls' disappearance.

"It's very sad. They were in a very dangerous situation with several different people," McNamara said. "We have reason to believe they were mistreated very badly."

McNamara said the girls were taken to at least five homes including in Bellmead, Belton and Georgetown.

"This never should have happened to these young ladies," McNamara said. "They were in dire straits. A very very bad situation."

McNamara did not identify any of the other people authorities believe were involved but he said they know who they are. He said this could have been a case of human trafficking.

"We're coming to get you," McNamara said about the other people authorities believe were involved.

Scaramuci confirmed to 6 News on Monday one of the girls sent a Snapchat message that read "help" on Sunday night, which was enough to launch an Amber Alert.

Scaramucci said Van Houten has no relation to the two teens. He said Van Houten picked them up in Bellmead where they were with another person.

McGregor Police, the FBI, Texas Rangers, Georgetown Police and the McLennan County Sheriff's Office Human Trafficking Unit were all involved in the investigation.

McNamara said he did not know if the girls were injured. They were returned to their families once they arrived back in McLennan County.

McNamara said this may have started as a case of two runaways, but quickly turned into a much worse situation.

Van Houten posted bond and was released from the Williamson County Jail, according to jail records.
 

Saltlifegypsy

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I am so glad they were found before it got worse. Parnell McNamara has made a lot of progress in slowing down trafficking in this area. I will be watching for the new arrests from the others in the Waco and Bellmead area who had those girls before they were taken to Georgetown.
 

YaYa_521

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SBM

“I think it’s evident that we need to take missing kids seriously,” he said. “I would also say that we really need to be paying attention to who our children are talking to and what’s going on in their lives because this is evidence that things can evolve very quickly and the situation can get pretty bad.”
 

Rodnester

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Two more arrested. This one is turning into a nightmare.

This investigation is ongoing. “We are going to make these scumbags accountable for what they did to these young girls,” said Sheriff Parnell McNamara McLennan County, “There will be more charges and more arrests to come. We are not going to let up.”
 
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