Clearwater man charged with human trafficking - WFLA News Channel 8

Clearwater man charged with human trafficking

Posted: Updated:
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) - A Clearwater man faces five counts of false imprisonment, two counts of sexual battery and one count of human trafficking for incidents related to people who were living with him, according to a Clearwater Police report.

Detectives say 38-year-old Jeffrey Keowin held five people inside a home on North Osceola Avenue.  The alleged victims included two mothers and their two sons, plus a 17-year-old girl.  Investigators say Keowin held them against their wills, without enough food, and without needed medicine. 

They say he took the victims' government benefits and ruled with an iron fist.

"They were also being punched.  They were being slapped. They were being kicked," said Clearwater Police spokesman Rob Shaw.  "Then we have also the two rape charges. So this is one bad egg."

Shaw says Keowin brought the five victims from the small town of Peru, Indiana to the Bay area.  He says they would travel back and forth starting in early 2013.  Sometimes the victims were confined to the back of a U-haul truck. 

For the past two weeks, police say Keowin moved to three places in Clearwater.  Neighbors are upset.

"That's crazy because I don't know, I walk my son through here every day and I had no idea anything like that was going on over here," said a neighbor named Amie.

"It's ridiculous for to have people just locked in your house," said Judah, who did not want to give his last name.  "Keeping 'em prisoner. And I don't know, he was sexually abusing them. It's a bit nerve-wracking."

Investigators say Keowin forced the teenage girl with diminished mental capacity into a sex act.  He is also accused of sexually abused 20-year-old male victim, who also had a mental disability.  They say he also forced the teen into prostitution.

"He would drive her to whatever business she was conducting, and always be with her then he would take her money from her ... He also apparently tried to get two others into prostitution as well," said Rob Shaw.

A police victim's advocate is working with the victims.  Keowin is being held on $165,000 bond.

Anyone who may have information on this case, or believe that the suspect is involved in more cases, should call Clearwater Police at 562-4242.

Sign up for free breaking news and headline email alerts http://8.wfla.com/18DCEqk

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:25 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:25:05 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:14:48 GMT
    Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled. Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
  • Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:06:23 GMT
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Gymnastics coach accused of sex with Brandon teen bonds out

    Gymnastics coach accused of sex with Brandon teen bonds out

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:02 AM EDT2014-07-31 12:02:32 GMT
    Justin Henry, a 21-year-old gymnastics coach accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, is out of jail Thursday morning. 
    Justin Henry, a 21-year-old gymnastics coach accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, is out of jail Thursday morning. 
  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:25 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:25:05 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Pinellas commissioners to tour new public safety complex

    Pinellas commissioners to tour new public safety complex

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:30 AM EDT2014-07-31 09:30:41 GMT
    The complex renderingThe complex rendering
    Pinellas County Commissioners will have a VIP tour this morning of the brand new public safety complex.
    Pinellas County Commissioners will have a VIP tour this morning of the brand new public safety complex.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.