Kristi Deann Merrill, who disappeared from Carmichael on March 23, has safely been recovered from a human trafficking ring.
Merrill’s mother, Bryn Barton, confirmed that her daughter had been the victim of a sex trafficking ring and was safely extracted in the early hours of Monday, July 30 with the help of Run 2 Rescue, a Christian organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating human trafficking victims.
“She is a survivor — her term, not mine,” Barton said in a telephone interview with the Mountain Democrat. She confirmed that Merrill, 25, has been moved to an undisclosed location.
Barton was only able to see her daughter immediately after the rescue, where she told her daughter, “I always knew you wouldn’t leave.”
Merrill, who lived in Carmichael, graduated from Union Mine High School and volunteered and interned around the county. Her father and sister, Rob and Mindi Merrill, still live in the county. Her father was with Barton and saw Merrill following her rescue.
Shannon Forsythe of Run 2 Rescue confirmed Merrill was rescued at 12:45 a.m. July 30, with private investigator Michelle Wishart being credited with physically getting Merrill into one of the organization’s cars and rescuing her. Forsythe said Merrill is “doing great.” She added, “She’s doing really good. We’ll continue working with her long term.”
She said the team is currently working on reunification with Merrill’s family, including Merrill’s young daughter. “We’re prepping in the next week or so for a meet.” Merrill has already spoken with her daughter, Adisyn, over the phone, Barton said.
Forsythe compared what Merrill is going through to PTSD, but “it goes even deeper than PTSD. We don’t have terminology for that kind of trauma.” She said it will likely take at least a year for Merrill’s life to return to a semblance of normalcy. “We have to untangle all that.”
Both Barton and Forsythe credit an earlier Mountain Democrat article on Merrill with kicking off a renewed search.
“We got the story from the article,” Forsythe said. “We were working as volunteers on another case, we saw the article and I contacted Bryn. Within 10 days, we found her.”
“It took a couple of days to process,” Barton said of the rescue. “I praise God for her being home.”
Contact Cole Mayer at 530-344-5068 or email@example.com. Follow @CMayerMtDemo.