A Long Beach gang member who forced a 14-year-old runaway into prostitution plead guilty last week and was sentenced to five years in state prison, police said Wednesday. 

According to police, Larry McDowell, a 40-year-old Long Beach resident and known Crip, first met the victim at Sherer Park on April 8, 2013, not long after she went missing from a group home in the City of Rosemead. He forced her to work as a prostitute in South Los Angeles for three days before moving her back to Long Beach, where she stayed at an apartment Downtown with its renter, a parolee and convicted sex offender, who kept an eye on her while McDowell forced her to work on Anaheim St. nearby. 

{loadposition latestnews}

The victim, who had been reported missing, was discovered on April 13, 2013 after she called police to turn herself in.

An investigation by the Juvenile Investigations Section led Long Beach police to not only McDowell, but also Glen Owens–the man whose apartment the victim stayed at–and Marvin Brown, a man who paid McDowell to have sex with the teen. 

Brown was sentenced to 100 days in jail and three years probation last May and Owens received six years in state prison for procuring a minor for sex. McDowell is the last of the men to be sentenced in the human trafficking case involving the victim.

Last November, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell got approval to submit to city council an estimate for a Sex Trafficking Unit that would exclusively investigate cases such as these. He said he would need at least one sergeant and four full-time officers to create such a unit, one that he called a “proactive rather than reactive” force that would include active investigations into sex and labor trafficking crimes.

January has been designated Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Read more: