Utah trucker accused of kidnapping 19-year-old relative

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MOORHEAD, Minn. — A truck driver from Utah is accused of holding a 19-year-old relative against her will while the two traveled across country.

Timothy Vafeades, 53, from Salt Lake City was arrested last week at a truck scale outside of Moorhead, Minn.

A Minnesota state trooper discovered a Florida warrant for the Vafeades arrest when he stopped at a weigh station in Clay County. Vafeades also had problems with his log book. Upon further investigation, police discovered that the woman traveling with Vafeades had a black eye and other injuries, according to Clay County prosecutor Brian Melton.

Melton said the woman was held captive for seven months while she traveled with Vafeades and during that time, he sexually abused her.

"(Vafeades) kept her driver's license and kept her social security card in his own wallet," Melton said. "She wasn't allowed to use public bathrooms. She had to go to the bathroom inside the truck. She wasn't allowed to be on her own when they went to truck stops. He kept her, basically, for a lack of any other better word, a slave."

According to Melton, the victim had tried to renew a relationship with Vafeades when she reached out to him to meet him.

"They met up but then he sexually abused her that first night in Salt Lake City, Utah, and continued on from there," Melton said.

Vafeades allegedly made the woman cut her hair and get false teeth "because he didn't like the way she looked," Melton said.

"It is definitely serious predatory behavior on the part of Mr. Vafeades," Melton said.

The woman, who was in the truck, asked to be taken to a Moorhead homeless shelter.

The man was charged in Clay County court with kidnapping, false imprisonment and domestic abuse. Unconditional bail for the man was set at $1 million. He remained in jail Monday.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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