On a Thursday afternoon late last summer, American Airlines customer service agent Denice Miracle was helping customers check in for their flights at Sacramento International Airport.
But when a 15-year-old and 17-year-old approached her counter to check in for a flight to New York, Miracle denied the girls their tickets and contacted authorities.
Now, she’s being hailed as a hero from saving the girls from sex trafficking after the airline released a statement this week praising her quick-thinking.
Here are five things to know about the story:
1. Miracle Became Suspicious Because the Girls Looked Skittish
Miracle saw some obvious red flags with the girls according to the American Airlines statement.
They were unsupervised and had no identification, despite having first class tickets. Records showed the credit card used to reserve their tickets was in neither of their names.
“Between the two of them, they had a bunch of small bags. It seemed to me as if they were running away from home,” Miracle said, in the statement. “They kept looking at each other in a way that seemed fearful and anxious. I had a gut feeling that something just wasn’t right.”
Miracle quickly contacted the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Airport Bureau, which questioned the girls.
2. Girls Said They Were Invited to Model and Be in Music Videos
While being questioned, the girls said they had gone to the airport under orders from a man they knew only from Instagram as “Drey.”
He allegedly invited the pair to New York for the weekend to earn $2,000 doing modeling and performing in music videos.
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They had lied to their parents about their whereabouts, telling them they were staying at each other’s houses, they told authorities.
3. When Agent Told Girls Their Fights Were One-Way, They Were ‘Shocked’
The teens had first-class tickets on the flight and believed they had been booked on a round trip, they told authorities. However, they were “shocked” when officials told them the flights were, in fact, one-way, according to the statement.
When Miracle told the girls they couldn’t fly, one of the girls called “Drey.”
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Later, when deputies’ tried to call him back, no one answered and moments later, his Instagram account disappeared.
4. ‘Drey’ Had a Google Phone Number Authorities Have Not Tracked
The telephone number the girls were using to contact “Drey” was likely a Google phone number, a Sacramento sheriff’s office official told TODAY. It could not be tracked.
“We don’t believe his real name was Drey,” Sergeant Scott Swisher told TODAY.
5. The Girls Returned Home Safely
The girls’ parents were contacted by deputies and they pair returned home safely. Deputies told the girls’ families that their daughters were believed to be victims of attempted human trafficking.
This week, a mother of one of the girls reached out to Miracle, she told the TODAY show.
“That was my 15-year-old daughter,” the mother wrote in her message, according to TODAY. “There are no words to express our gratitude to you. Thank you. Because of you, my daughter is home safe with her family where she is loved and belongs.”