California Sisters Sentenced for Child Sex Trafficking
Thursday, Sacramento residents Tynisha Marie Hornbuckle, 24, and Tamrell Rena Hornbuckle, 26, were sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison and 12 years and seven months in prison, respectively, for sex trafficking of minors, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. sentenced them after they had entered guilty pleas before him on May 3, 2012, to two counts of sex trafficking of minors.
Co-defendants Latrelle Alicia Hornbuckle, Cherrelle Elizabeth Hornbuckle, Tammy Rena Brown, and Jacqueline Lanoise Radisha Wade have all pleaded guilty to crimes relating to their involvement in the sex trafficking of minors and await sentencing. Tynisha, Tamrell, Latrelle, and Cherrelle Hornbuckle are all sisters. Brown is their mother.
According to court documents, starting in 2008, the defendants conspired to force and coerce minors to engage in commercial sex acts. At that time, a 13-year-old runaway started working as a prostitute for Tynisha Hornbuckle. This victim continued to work for Tynisha Hornbuckle until the defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2011. Tynisha Hornbuckle also had at least two other minor victims working as prostitutes for her, and Tamrell Hornbuckle had one of the minor victims working for her after the victim turned 18. There were also at least two adult victims who worked for both sisters.
According to court documents, the girls and women that worked for the defendants took orders from Tynisha Hornbuckle about when to work, where to work, how much to charge, and with whom to have “dates.” The money that they earned as prostitutes was given to Tynisha Hornbuckle and Tamrell Hornbuckle. Meetings with customers were generally arranged through cellphone calls made to Tynisha or Tamrell Hornbuckle. The sisters would drive the girls to and from dates, which would take place at residences controlled by Tamrell, Cherrelle, or Latrelle Hornbuckle, as well as at Brown’s house. The owner of the property would generally receive a small portion of the proceeds when the dates took place at their home. Dates would also occasionally take place at local motels.
According to testimony taken during a sentencing hearing, two of the minor victims in this case were beaten extensively during their time working as prostitutes for the Hornbuckles. Indeed, beatings to the 13-year-old occurred on a daily basis according to one witness. In addition, victims allowed themselves to be tattooed with the “Hornbuckle” name. Witnesses described this process as “branding.” One victim equated it with how a farmer would treat his livestock. Additional evidence showed that minor children were occasionally present in the residences where prostitution activity occurred.
According to court documents, on May 5, 2011, Tamrell and Latrelle Hornbuckle met with one of the victims and talked about the fact that the Hornbuckles and the girls and women who worked for them as prostitutes were being investigated by the FBI. In response to the victim’s questions about what she should say if questioned by the FBI, Latrelle Hornbuckle told the victim to lie and say that she is friends with the defendant but does not know the rest of the Hornbuckle family. This statement was false. Latrelle Hornbuckle also told the victim that if she were called to testify, she should say nothing. Tamrell and Latrelle Hornbuckle discussed various facts in the case and possible deceptive and false answers the victim could give to the FBI if asked about those facts.
In sentencing, Judge England said that his sentences balanced the defendants’ personal histories and characteristics with the need to punish the defendants for their conduct and to deter others who might engage in similar crimes. Judge England stated that the Hornbuckle family formed a “complex organization that preyed upon...extremely young [girls]” and enforced their compliance as prostitutes through “coercion and physical” violence.
This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional task force with members from the FBI, the Sacramento Police Department, and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “Resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.