Man accused of keeping St. George teen as ‘pet’ charged with human trafficking

Raymond Burk. Images: Maricopa County, Google Maps

ST. GEORGE, Utah, April 3, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — An Arizona man is facing charges of first-degree felony human trafficking of a child and aggravated kidnapping after officials say he picked up a 17-year-old girl from her home in St. George and held her against her will for a week, saying he wanted to keep her as his “pet.”

According to a probable cause statement from Utah’s Fifth District Court, Raymond Burk, 38, took the victim to his home in Phoenix, Arizona, after initially telling her he lived in Leeds.

“The victim reported that in June of 2016, she was staying with her father in the St. George area,” the probable cause statement says. “During that time, she posted messages to an Internet application stating she was depressed and wanted someone to pick her up. Someone claiming to be a 20-year-old male named ‘Carter’ responded and said he would come get her. The victim and the man communicated via the Internet application several times and made plans.”

The probable cause statement says the man told the victim he would “take away her depression and she would be happy with him.” The man said he would take the victim to his house in Leeds, Utah, and have her home in two days. The victim initially told the man she was 18, but she later revealed she had lied and was 17. The man responded, “Oh, even better,” the statement says.

The statement says that on June 2, 2016, Burk arrived at the victim’s house and picked her up. He took the victim to a bank, where she withdrew money. He told the victim to walk up to the bank because he didn’t want his car to be seen in the parking lot.

After about 45 minutes traveling with Burk, the victim asked Burk if they were still going to Leeds, which is only approximately 30 minutes from St. George, the statement says. Burk then told her, “I lied. I live in Phoenix.”

“The victim then asked if she would still be back in two days. Burk replied that he was going to keep her as his ‘pet’ indefinitely.”

The victim reported she was held against her will during the trip from St. George to Burk’s residence in Phoenix, which is approximately a 6-hour drive. She said she considered jumping out at a stop light, but there were no stop lights because “they were in the middle of nowhere. Also, the victim feared Burk.”

The probable cause statement says that when they got to Phoenix, Burk held her against her will for over a week, during which time he sexually assaulted her several times.

“The second night she was with Burk, the victim said she wanted to go home,” the statement said. “Burk ‘flipped out’ and hit the victim. Burk told the victim she was ‘his little pet’ and ‘he was keeping her forever.’ The victim said if Burk did not let her go, she would call her dad. He hit her again, slapped her head, and punched her on the right side of her face on her jaw.”

The next morning, Burk tied the victim to his bed using rope, telling her she was not free to leave and should just lie there until he got home from work, the statement says.

She reported that Burk beat her and sexually assaulted her several more times before she was able to escape. On one occasion, he transported the victim to his drug supplier’s house and told her to have sex with the supplier so they could get marijuana, which she did.

“The victim was eventually able to escape by accessing Burk’s friend’s telephone and putting messages out through social media applications,” the statement says. “Burk learned the police were coming and attempted to transport the victim again to a different residence. But the victim saw police and was able to report what happened and escape.”

Charges have been filed against Burk in Maricopa County, Arizona, relating to this incident, but charges are appropriate in Utah too as the victim was abducted from and transported through this state. The Utah Attorney General’s Office is coordinating prosecution of suspect with Arizona authorities.


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