Cop: Gwinnett teens held captive 3 days, sexually abused; 2 men sought

Two girls, 14 and 15 years old, were drugged, beaten and held captive in an abandoned Gwinnett County home last month before being forced into sex acts with a Dacula man, a Gwinnett detective said at a Thursday hearing.

Gene Wendell Lay, 42, faces eight charges, including human trafficking and aggravated child molestation, for allegedly forcing the 14-year-old to perform sex acts while the 15-year-old watched. 

Two men enticed the girls from a gas station, promising a party, but were held captive in a home with the men for days before Lay picked them up, Riddle said.

The two other men have not been arrested or identified, the dectective said. 

Riddle, a member of the Gwinnett County Police Department Special Victims Unit, discussed the details of the case at a preliminary hearing Thursday, establishing probable cause for the charges against Lay to move forward.

MORE | Gwinnett man charged with trafficking children for sex, labor

READ | Suit: Gwinnett teacher sexually abused girls, but school ignored it

The girls were two friends, Riddle said, and were not runaways. They met the two men who appeared to be in their 30s at an unidentified gas station on June 27, Riddle said. She did not explain why the girls were at the gas station.

The men invited them to a party and told the girls to meet back at the gas station later. When the men picked the girls up, they gave them marijuana laced with an unidentified drug and brought them to an abandoned townhome, Riddle said.

The girls were drugged, beaten and sexually assaulted by the two men in the home, where they were held against their will for nearly three days, Riddle said. On June 30, Lay came to the home in an Uber and picked up the girls and men. All five of them went to a La Quinta Inn in Norcross, where Lay rented a room.

Once in the hotel, both girls tried to escape, but were choked and beaten by the men, Riddle said. Lay then forced the 14-year-old to perform a sex act on him, and gave the men money once the act was complete, Riddle said.

At some point, the girls fell asleep. Lay and the two men were gone when they awoke. The girls called their parents and the police, and Lay was arrested later that evening, Riddle said.

The girls were examined and tested positive for methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and hydromorphone, a powerful opiate that can be used for sedation.

Lay told Riddle he had picked up the girls and the men, but as a favor for a friend who needed a place to stay. He denied any sexual activity and said he did not realize the girls were as young as they were. 

There was no description of the unidentified male suspects other than their approximate ages. Lay did not identify them to police. 

Lay remains in the Gwinnett County Detention Center without bond. The issue of bond will be addressed by the Gwinnett County Superior Court at a later date.

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