A Florida mother has been jailed in Georgia, accused of prostituting her 6-year-old daughter to support herself and her drug habit.
Police in Columbus, Ga., arrested 39-year-old Dalina Nicholas, of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., on March 1 on a warrant accusing her of child neglect. She was locked in the Muscogee County Jail. Quinn Brooks, 56, and John Hagans, 47, are behind bars in Jacksonville Beach in connection with the case, accused of paying for sexual favors with the child. A third man, 51-year-old Norman Thompson, is being sought by police.
According to a report by Jacksonville Beach police, the investigation into the case began on Jan. 7, when a homeless man flagged down a patrolling police cruiser. The man said he knew of a young girl, later identified as Nicholas' daughter, who was being sexually abused by several men, police said.
The homeless man told police the abuse had been ongoing for about two years and said that he had witnessed Nicholas use drugs. The man also said he was present once when Nicholas allegedly accepted $20 from a man and told her daughter to get naked and lay on a living room mattress so the man could have oral sex with her, police said.
The witness, according to police, said the girl had confided in him that she was being sexually abused and asked him to "help her make it stop."
Nicholas, confronted by investigators at her Jacksonville Beach apartment, denied her daughter had been sexually abused. She told police that she had been abused as a child and would "know if her daughter was going through the same thing," the police report states.
The 6-year-old girl told police detailed accounts of sexual abuse that she had suffered in her home, by various adult males, police said.
Brooks, Hagans and Thompson were identified as abusers of the girl, police said. Brooks and Hagans denied wrongdoing. Both men have been charged with capital sexual battery and are being held without bond. Authorities have been unable to locate Thompson.
Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Bruce Thomason did not immediately return a call for comment from The Huffington Post Wednesday. He recently expressed his shock about the case during an interview with The Florida Times-Union.
"I can't think of an adjective that's bad enough to describe" the allegations, Thomason told the newspaper. "Anyone who would harm a child is just beneath contempt."
Nicholas' Jacksonville Beach neighbors were equally disturbed.
"It's disgusting. I can't even fathom the thought," neighbor April Wishman told News4jax.com. "I have a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. I can't fathom it."
News4jax.com also reported the Florida Department of Children and Families has placed the victim and her 1-year-old brother with a relative. The children are receiving counseling, the station said.
Nicholas' mother, Debbie Morgan, did not return a call for comment Wednesday. Speaking with WTEV-TV, she defended her daughter.
"They're not true. They're totally not true," Morgan said of the charges.
Morgan alleged her daughter had been sexually abused by drug dealers and was a prisoner inside her home.
"I was told by my granddaughter that my daughter was beat by these people. I was told by my granddaughter that her mother would sneak her out of the apartment bare footed at night trying to hide from these people," said Morgan.
Jacksonville Beach police said they have found no evidence to support Morgan's claims.
"No, not at all," Sgt. Thomas Bingham told HuffPost. "We believe this woman willfully and intentionally allowed other adults to perform sexual acts on her child."
Nicholas waived a Monday extradition hearing in Georgia and will be brought back to Florida later this week.
Anyone with information on Norman Thompson's whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.