‘They were mistreated very badly’ | McLennan County Sheriff says more arrests coming in case of teens who were missing for six days

Two 14-year-old McGregor girls were found in Georgetown after one of them sent a message for “help” on Snapchat.

WACO, Texas — *Editor’s note: Due to the fact that they are minors, 6 News has removed the names of the two teens who were at the center of this now-expired Amber Alert.*

More charges and arrests were expected in connection to the disappearance of two McGregor girls, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said Tuesday.

Both girls, 14, were found in Georgetown early Tuesday morning. They were first reported missing on June 29.

McLennan County Det. Joseph Scaramucci said they were with James Robert Van Houten, 30. Van Houten was charged with two counts of harboring a runaway child. McNamara said Van Houten would likely face additional charges.

During a news conference Tuesday, McNamara said there were multiple people involved in their disappearance. 

“It’s very sad. They were in a very dangerous situation with several different people,” McNamara said. “We have reason to believe they were mistreated very badly.” 

McNamara said the girls were taken to at least five homes including in Bellmead, Belton and Georgetown.

“This never should have happened to these young ladies,” McNamara said. “They were in dire straits. A very very bad situation.”

McNamara did not identify any of the other people authorities believe were involved but he said they know who they are. He said this could have been a case of human trafficking.

“We’re coming to get you,” McNamara said about the other people authorities believe were involved.

Det. Scaramuci confirmed to 6 News on Monday one of the girls sent a Snapchat message that read “help” on Sunday night which was enough to launch an Amber Alert.

Scaramucci said Van Houten has no relation to the two teens. He said Van Houten picked them up in Bellmead where they were with another person.

McGregor Police, the FBI, Texas Rangers Georgetown Police and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Unit were all involved in the investigation.

McNamara said he did not know if the girls were injured. They were returned to their families once they arrived back in McLennan County. 

McNamara said this may have started as a case of two runaways but quickly turned into a much worse situation.

RELATED: Amber Alert canceled | Missing McGregor teens found in Georgetown, one man in custody

RELATED: FBI joins search for McGregor teens at center of AMBER Alert

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