The 23-year-old woman was reported missing on Dec. 6

By Chris Harris
December 30, 2019 10:56 AM
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Cherokee County Sheriff's Office

Police in Kansas have charged a 29-year-old Oklahoma man with the kidnapping of a 23-year-old woman he allegedly strong-armed into stripping for money, PEOPLE confirms.

Over the weekend, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office announced the recent arrest of Gary Ballard, a Tulsa resident, on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated human trafficking.

Ballard was detained Thursday and is being held on $200,000 bond.

Investigators in Kansas were informed that a 23 year-old woman missing from Coweta, Oklahoma, since Dec. 6 was in the area, working at a local gentlemen’s club.

“Detectives located the woman” at the strip club in Kansas, “where she had been reportedly driven by a Tulsa man who had physically beat her, forced her to dance for money which he took and had been preventing her from leaving or contacting her family,” reads a press release from the sheriff’s office.

“The man who is suspected of repeatedly and violently hurting this woman before transporting her across state lines for the purposes of making him money, has a violent past including a conviction of shooting with intent to kill in Oklahoma,” said Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.

“I’m thankful our investigators were able to remove the woman from this situation, get her back to her family, and apprehend the suspect without incident.”

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PEOPLE was unable to determine if Ballard had entered pleas to the charges or was represented by an attorney who could comment on the allegations on his behalf.

“This case illustrates the importance for people to know there are resources available to help get them out of dangerous, violent or abusive relationships and situations,” Sheriff Groves added.

If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.