Thursday, July 25, 2024

Willard man charged with human trafficking, held on $2 million bond

James Bryan Peterson of Willard was arrested on charges of human trafficking after a woman reported that she and her baby were being held against their will. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Pender County Sheriffs Office)
James Bryan Peterson of Willard was arrested on charges of human trafficking after a woman reported that she and her baby were being held against their will. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Pender County Sheriffs Office)

BURGAW — A Willard man has been charged with human trafficking for holding a 24-year-old woman and her 8-month baby against their will.

On Friday, August 9, Pender County received a call from a woman who reported she was being held against her will at a residence on N.C. Highway 11 in Willard, according to a release from the Pender County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded and pursuant to that investigation, James Bryan Peterson, 54, was arrested and charged with two counts of assault on a female, one count of sexual battery, and one count of assault by pointing a gun.

The woman and her baby were with him at the residence. Initially, Peterson was held in the Pender County Jail under a $20,000 secured bond. He posted bond and was released on Saturday, August 10.

A search warrant at Peterson’s residence was then executed and, upon further investigation, he was arrested for additional crimes including counts of human trafficking both an adult and child victim and sexual servitude. Peterson was also charged with first-degree kidnapping, involuntary servitude, felonious restraint, and second-degree kidnapping.

He is currently being held under a $2 million bond at the Pender County Jail and is scheduled to have a first appearance on these charges on Tuesday, August 20.

Anyone with information concerning this case and ongoing investigation is asked to contact the Pender County Sheriff’s Office at 910-259-1212.


 

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