Southfield police seek information on human trafficking victims

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published May 22, 2024

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SOUTHFIELD — Southfield police received an anonymous tip at 11:30 a.m. May 12 regarding a woman being trafficked at the Red Roof Inn on Northwestern Highway.

The caller explained that she had seen her friend walking with a 48-year-old Detroit man who had been absconding parole since April. The caller described the man as a “pimp” and said the victim had a black eye. Southfield police responded to the location to conduct an investigation, but they were unable to locate the room number.

On May 13, the Southfield Police Department’s tactical crime suppression unit began actively investigating the complaint of human trafficking. The officers observed Ricky Edwards Jr. and 60-year-old Detroit resident Paul Alan Dave enter a 2020 white Chevrolet Blazer with two females. Police tried to initiate a traffic stop, and Dave, the driver, initially pulled over, but then accelerated, leading to a high-speed pursuit heading south on Northwestern Highway into Detroit, reaching up to 120 mph.

Dave ran a red light at West Outer Drive and the James Couzens Service Drive and collided with the passenger side of a black Kia Niro containing a 34-year-old Uber driver and a 26-year-old female passenger. The passenger was ejected from the vehicle and sustained serious injuries. She was transported to a hospital for medical treatment, and according to Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren, as of May 16, she remained in critical condition. Dave sustained a minor cut on his hand, and Edwards had surgery May 14 to repair his left arm, which was broken in the accident, police said.

The two women, who are suspected to be victims of human trafficking, did not sustain substantial injuries but were taken to the hospital for observation. However, the women left the hospital promptly after arriving. Southfield detectives are actively working to locate the two. One of the women is a 26-year-old resident of Auburn Hills, and the other is a 35-year-old resident of Plymouth.

“The key to this is getting contact with these women and even the caller who made the initial call. So we do know who the women are, what cities they’re from. We are looking to interview them,”  Chief Elvin Barren said at a press conference May 16. “Understanding that these women are afraid, I will appeal to both women. You’re not facing any challenges. You are a victim of human trafficking and/or have been forced into a life of sex work. However, we can provide resources to assist you. Both men are in custody, and you are free from their control.”

Edwards faces charges for parole violation and absconding on second-degree murder and narcotics charges from 2002. He was taken into Michigan Department of Corrections’ custody. Dave faces charges of second-degree fleeing and eluding and is awaiting additional charges from the city of Detroit.

Attorneys for Edwards and Dave could not be reached at press time.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Southfield Police Department at (248) 796-5500.