Marion County man arrested in connection to sex trafficking minors

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A Marion County man was arrested on Friday following accusations he engaged in human trafficking with two minors for over a year, with his wife having been arrested too for helping him to coordinate visits with them, according to police.

Police arrested Dwight Edwards, 47, after an investigation concluded he had been coercing two minors, between the ages of 13 and 16, into performing sexual acts in exchange for cash since January of last year, according to an affidavit.

On several occasions, Edwards petitioned each of them to perform oral sex on him, with one of them coerced into having sex with him multiple times, according to an affidavit. In one instance, one of them said that Edwards purchased her a phone after she allowed him to perform oral sex on her, promising to pay her phone bill afterward, according to police.

His wife, 33-year-old Jessica Edwards, was asked by investigators to provide any assistance to police to help locate him, but she refused to do so, according to an affidavit. Following that interview, investigators determined Edwards had taken the two minors to her home on Thanksgiving and allowed her husband around them.

Jessica Edward’s sister, Christina Santiago, believed her sister and Edwards were going to attempt to flee the county, attempting to take the minors with them. Santiago said the minors were in fear of Edwards because they knew she would force them to be around her husband if they went with her, according to investigators.

Edwards was arrested on Tuesday following this accusation.

Jessica Edwards is being held in the Marion County Jail on $100,000 bond. She faces two counts of child neglect. 

Dwight Edwards was arrested in Stockbridge, Georgia, after U.S. Marshals, assisted by police from Henry County, found him after he fled Marion County. Edwards is currently in the Henry County Jail, awaiting extradition to Marion County. 

Police are recommending to prosecutors six charges of human trafficking and six charges of lewd or lascivious battery against Edwards.

About Bryce Schuele

Bryce is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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