Woman who claimed she was forced to work as prostitute a no-show in court
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An arrest warrant has been issued for a downstate woman who accused her boyfriend and his friend of selling her as a prostitute.
The trial of Jeffrey Horton, 27, and Aaron Thurmond, 23, both of Chicago, was continued by Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti for another day while police try and track down the missing woman, who has not been identified by authorities.
Thurmond and Horton have pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of involuntary servitude, trafficking in persons and promoting prostitution following their arrest by Mundelein police on April 3.
The men were traveling with the Champaign-area woman when they were pulled over by Mundelein police for driving with their headlights off about 11:15 p.m., police said.
During the traffic stop, the woman told police she was being forced to work as a prostitute by Thurmond and Horton, and the three were heading from a client in Wauconda to meet a client in Antioch.
That Antioch client turned out to be Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Francke, 33, of Antioch, authorities said. Francke was charged in May with obstructing justice/destroying evidence and solicitation of a sex act. He has since been placed on administrative leave without pay.
After the arrest, Horton was freed after posting the required 10 percent of his $50,000 bail, while Thurmond remains held in Lake County jail on $250,000 bail.
Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Jason Grindel said Tuesday the state will not be ready to go to trial, but wants to leave the case on the trial call to see if the woman will appear in court.
Defense attorney Eric F. Rinehart told Rossetti previously that the woman now says in video and on her Facebook page that she was never forced to work as a prostitute by Thurmond or Horton.
She was subpoenaed to appear in court Monday, but didn't show up. When she didn't appear, Rossetti issued a warrant for her arrest.
Both sides are due to return to court Wednesday morning to see if the woman shows up.
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