Officials: Human trafficking suspect threatened to ‘rip out victim’s throat’ with filed teeth

A 36-year-old man has been arrested, according to Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson.
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 4:58 PM MST
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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WNEM/Gray News) - A 36-year-old man has been arrested after grooming a victim, barricading her in a house, and sexually assaulting her over a period of three weeks, according to Michigan officials.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said the victim, a 20-year-old woman, was walking down the street the week of Thanksgiving when the suspect, identified as 36-year-old Michael Barajas, approached her in a car.

The woman had recently been kicked out of her house, and when Barajas showed up, he took advantage of her vulnerability and offered her a shower, food, and warmth, Swanson said.

As soon as she was taken to a house, Swanson said Barajas barricaded the woman inside with locks on the doors and the windows screwed shut.

The woman was tied to a bed and locked inside a room, where Swanson said she was sexually assaulted and trafficked by multiple suspects.

The sheriff said Barajas threatened the woman with his filed teeth, saying he would bite into her neck and rip her throat out if she didn’t do everything he told her to do.

WNEM reports the victim attempted to escape on three occasions.

The first time, she ran out of an open door, but was shot at and brought back to the house, Swanson said.

In the second attempt, she was able to run away, but the suspects dragged her back inside, according to Swanson.

The third attempt was due to a medical emergency. She was taken to the Hurley Medical Center on Dec. 8, and nurses treating her recognized she was being abused and contacted Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team (GHOST).

Authorities arrested Barajas the same day. He was arraigned on Dec. 11.

Barajas was charged with human trafficking, kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, possession of methamphetamine, and assault.

He is being held on a $245,000 bond.

The case remains under investigation.