Most parents worry about their kids. They are usually concerned about things like if their child is eating enough, making friends, doing well in their education — all things that ensure they’ll grow into a capable adult.
But most parents also worry about keeping their kids safe. They tell them to look both ways, stay away from strangers, and wear their bike helmet. But there are some threats a kid faces that their parents can’t help them with…
Married With Children
Steve Marks and Lila Miller were a married couple living in Denton, Texas. They’d been married for a while now and had been blessed with 7 children. Aside from their oldest, a 14-year-old, they had 6 other kids, the youngest of which was 3 years old.
Steve and Lila had taken a road trip from Texas, heading for Elgin, Illinois. Though they weren’t travelling with their kids, it wasn’t some kind of romantic getaway. In fact, they were driving as quickly as possible for a very serious reason…
In January, Steve and Lila were driving to Elgin where Jane, their oldest daughter, was staying with a family. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there for a visit with friends or anything nice like that. Jane was being held against her will.
Jane hadn’t been kidnapped or anything like that. In fact, the reality of the situation was darker than that. Jane, a 14-year-old girl had been purchased by the family in Elgin. They had contacted a seller and purchased her like most people would purchase a dog…
The family in Elgin had bought Jane with the intention for her to be “in a common-law marriage to a male subject believed to be about 3 years older,” according to the police. In other words, Jane was to be forcibly “wed” to the 17-year-old son of the family.
Steve and Lila wanted to get their daughter out of that house and away from those people but they wanted to get her out themselves. They didn’t want to involve the police at all. You might expect that was because they were concerned for Jane’s safety but their reason was a lot darker than that…
The reason Steve and Lila didn’t want to get the cops involved was they had been the ones who sold Jane to the family in Elgin. For the price of $17,500, a price that seems like they met halfway between $15k and $20k, they’d sold their daughter as a sex slave.
But if they’d sold her why were Steve and Lila going to get their daughter back? It turns out that the family had stiffed them on their payment. Steven had initially received $8,600, a little less than half the money, up front with the expectation that the rest would come later. When no further payment came, they hit the road…
Getting Her Back
Steve and Lila confronted the family they’d sold Jane to and got her back without much of an issue. But if you thought that the couple had any feelings of remorse over what they’d done, you’d be wrong. The only regret they had was they hadn’t gotten the money they’d been promised.
Rock and a Hard Place
For Jane, this was an emotionally complex situation. She had just been rescued from a terrible situation but it was by the people who’d put her there in the first place, her parents — the people who were supposed to protect her from all the terrible things in the world…
There was no way that Jane would be able to trust them again and she had good reason not to. Before Steve and Lila had even picked her up, they had already made arrangements to sell Jane to another family, this time in Florida.
Although no one had ever called the cops, Jane had been reported missing back in September. That prompted the Department of Public Safety to launch an investigation to find her in November. They had begun by looking into Jane’s family…
After taking Jane from the house in Elgin and before they’d delivered her to the family in Florida, Steve and Lila took Jane to the home of Davey and Dorothy Marks, Steve’s parents. While they were holding Jane, detectives wanted to interview them.
Get Her Out
While Davey was speaking with the detectives, Dorothy called home to another family member Miller Marks, who was watching Jane in their home. She told him that the police were coming and that he had to get Jane out of the house…
Run For It
But when Miller went to take Jane out, she saw an opportunity to make an escape. She made a break for it, sprinting down the street an away to freedom. She ran to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant where she called 911.
Based on Jane’s testimony, police arrested Steve and Lila. For what they had done to their daughter, they were charged with “purchasing or selling a child for sex” and a number of smaller related crimes…
Steve Marks parents, Davey and Dorothy, were also held accountable by police. Because they had held Jane, knowing what had happened and that she was going to be sold again, they were charged with interference with child custody.
Steve and Lila of course denied any wrongdoing. They claim that Janes statements are completely made up and that she was in Illinois visiting a boyfriend. Steve came out with a strong statement, saying that anyone who would sell a child for sex “needs to be put away for the rest of their life.”…
I Love Them
“I don’t think a father who loves his children, fights for custody for his children. I love them, I would die for them. I have no reason to sell my children,” Steve added. At the time of this writing, the court has yet to decide. Steve and Lila are being held on a $1 million bail as they await trial.
It should be noted that because their daughter was a minor, investigators have not released much information about her. We have chosen to represent her in this story by the name “Jane” as in “Jane Doe.”