A second suspect has been charged in connection with the disappearance of a Washington teen who police now fear is a victim of sex trafficking.
Documents obtained by KOMO show that Maria Counts, 29, and sex offender Christopher Fitzpatrick, 39, met Lileana “Lily” Christopherson, 15, and her friend, Alex, at the Federal Way Transit Center after the teen ran away from her Bonney Lake home. There, the pair allegedly gave the teens DMT, a synthetic hallucinogen, and convinced Christopherson to take nude pictures at a hotel while instructing Alex to leave.
According to KIRO, Fitzpatrick allegedly raped Christopherson and sold her as a prostitute multiple times since meeting her on May 9. As CrimeOnline previously reported, U.S. Marshals arrested Fitzpatrick at a Lakewood home Saturday for violating his probation and failing to register as a sex offender.
Prosecutors have since filed six counts against the pair, including kidnapping, child rape and promoting child prostitution. KIRO reported that Fitzpatrick and Counts pleaded not guilty to all charges and their bail was set at $2 million and $500,000, respectively.
Police initially identified someone named Alex as a person of interest in their investigation. CrimeOnline reported that Bonney Lake police believed the 15-year-old could have been with Alex Thueringer, 18, who had recently been kicked out of his Bonney Lake home. However, police later announced that they had spoken with Thueringer and he had no information about the girl’s whereabouts.
The News Tribune reported that Thueringer told police they had taken the drugs in an RV near the Transit Center before going to an apartment. There, Fitzpatrick and Counts offered to take Christopherson to the hotel to take pictures, he said.
Counts reportedly took a walk with Thueringer and told him that Christopherson wanted him to leave. Both Counts and Fitzpatrick told Thueringer to leave when he attempted to return to the apartment. Christopherson then yelled out that it was okay for the teen to go and to “stay safe,” according to the newspaper.
Documents indicated that the suspects and Christopherson went to another residence in Tacoma and left a day or two before police got there. Police said they recovered a shovel and zip ties at the initial residence they allegedly kidnapped Christopherson at.
Police arrested Counts Thursday at a Tumwater motel but the Washington teen was nowhere to be found.
Alarmingly, documents revealed that Christopherson is being advertised on MeetMe.com.
“It does not matter whether or not the victim willingly stepped into this world,” Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said. “She is underage and any exploitation is a crime.”
Police said Christopherson is 5’2″, 120 lbs, and has long brown hair, hazel eyes, and a small scar near her left eye. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is urged to call 911 or the U.S. Marshals’ hotline at 206-370-8600.
[Featured image: Lileana Christopherson/Bonney Lake Police Department]