Hero North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Howard Saves Missing Juvenile
North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Howard Awarded For Saving A Missing Juvenile, Arresting Fugitive
Beaufort County, NC – Hero Trooper Joseph Howard with North Carolina Highway Patrol, credits his human trafficking training for helping him save a missing juvenile.
North Carolina SHP Trooper Joseph Howard’s “…keen observation” and “investigative skills” after a routine traffic stop led to the recovery of a missing juvenile and the capture of a dangerous fugitive.
On May 29, 2016, at about 5:30 PM, Trooper Howard stopped a vehicle for speeding on Hwy. 17 in Beaufort County. He noticed a male driver, who appeared to be in his 50’s, two female passengers, and an infant inside the vehicle. North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Howard talked with the male driver, and began to suspect some type of criminal activity based on his training and experience. The male driver told NC SHP Trooper Howard that he was the father of one of the female passengers, who was 17-years-old. Trooper Howard also said that he smelled the odor of marijuana inside the vehicle and requested backup.
During the traffic stop, Trooper Howard had also noticed that the two female passengers appeared to be nervous. Trooper Howard checked the male’s driver’s license and discovered that he was wanted in the state of Virginia. NC SHP Trooper Howard took the driver into custody and secured him in his vehicle. He then interviewed the two female passengers, contacted his Dispatcher, and was advised that one of the female passengers was a missing juvenile also from the state of Virginia.
The trooper searched the vehicle and found narcotics. Trooper Joseph Howard called the missing juvenile’s father, who confirmed that he was indeed her father. The Trooper then told the fugitive that he was speaking to the 17-year-old’s father and asked who he was. According to news sources, the fugitive said that he was “…like her father” and that he took care of her.
NC SHP Trooper Howard said that “it’s kind of weird to me that you’re going to be entered as a missing juvenile when you’re riding down the road with your father.” The missing juvenile then told Trooper Howard that the male driver was her boyfriend. The second female passenger, 18, was later determined to be a friend of the missing juvenile and that the infant was her child. The missing juvenile’s father also told Trooper Howard that the fugitive was using his daughter for prostitution and that “he was pimping her out.”
NC SHP Trooper Howard said that he had completed training about Human Trafficking as part of his training and that it helped him recognize some of the signs that something was very wrong with this traffic stop. He said that he would never forget that traffic stop and that he would remember it forever.
Trooper Howard has been employed with the NC SHP for over nine years. He is stationed at the Troop A, District 4 Highway Patrol Office in Washington, North Caroina. He was awarded the Highway Patrol’s Meritorious Service Award. This award is presented to a member or members who serve the State of North Carolina in an outstanding manner.
Thank you, Trooper Joseph Howard for your service, especially on May 29, 2016, when a juvenile was saved from a wanted criminal.
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