Charges against Utah trucker outline sexual, physical abuse

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MURRAY — For six months, a teenage girl was sexually, physically and psychologically abused almost daily while being held captive in the cab of a long-haul truck, prosecutors say.

The charges filed against Timothy Jay Vafeades, 53, of Murray, outline a horrific list of abuse suffered by a teen relative, including "numerous odd and controlling behaviors" he exhibited over his victim.

Vafeades wore numerous bracelets on his wrists that he called "slave bracelets" and would hit his victim with the bracelets if she didn't follow his commands, according to court documents. Vafeades allegedly didn't like looking at the girl's "crooked teeth" while raping her, and he "used a (Dremel) machine to file down certain teeth" in her mouth and also forced her to wear dentures, according to probable cause statement.

Vafeades' alleged trail of abuse ended Nov. 26 in Clay County, Minn., where an alert trooper realized that the female passenger in Vafeades' semitrailer had a lifetime protection order issued against him in 1999 out of Florida.

Vafeades was charged Monday in Clay County's 7th District Court with kidnapping to hold in involuntary servitude, false imprisonment and domestic abuse.

The kidnapping and abuse began in Utah in May, according to prosecutors. A female relative of Vafeades left her home in Florida to seek him out, believing she could get a job as well as reconnect with him, said Clark County Attorney Brian Melton.

Vafeades owns a small trucking company in Utah called Twilight Express Trucking. The girl later told investigators that Vafeades "had an obsession with vampires," and even owned a pair of dentures that were carved to make the two front teeth appear as fangs.

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Melton believes Vafeades was mostly a transient and slept in his rig. He owned a storage shed in Utah where he kept his Corvette and a motorcycle, he said. Vafeades' home address listed in court documents is the same as his trucking company, 663 W. 4100 South.

The teen told investigators that the sexual abuse began the first night she arrived in Utah, according to the charges. Vafeades told her "he did not intend to let her leave or go back to Florida," the charges state. He then took her driver's license, social security card and cellphone.

Vafeades was "very controlling of her and her behavior" and did not allow her to use public restrooms, police said.

"She was required to go to the bathroom in a pot that he carried in the truck," according to the charges. She was not allowed to take showers at truck stops and she estimated that she took five or six showers during the entire time she was kidnapped.

"Victim stated because of the lack of hygiene, by not being allowed to shower, that victim got an infection," the charges state.

The teen was not allowed to walk around truck stops alone, was forced to hold Vafeades' hand in public and not make eye contact with other people. If Vafeades thought she had made eye contact with someone, he would hit her, the charges stated. The girl estimated she was hit "over 20 to 30 times" throughout the time she was held captive.

When Vafeades was arrested in Minnesota, police said they found the girl with a black eye and other bruises.

At one point, the girl told police she obtained a razor blade and made a weapon out of it, and contemplated whether to attack Vafeades or take her own life, but eventually threw it away without using it.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office said it had not been asked to consider any potential charges against Vafeades as of Tuesday for alleged crimes committed in Utah. That request, however, could be made in the future.

Charging documents also noted that Vafeades has "numerous domestic related convictions from the 1980s and 1990s," including a conviction for domestic abuse assault in 2012 in Iowa.

In Utah, a protective order was also filed against him in 3rd District Court in 2012.

Contributing: Sandra Yi


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