Grand jury decides not to indict man accused of luring teen from Dallas Mavericks game

A Dallas County grand jury decided not to indict a man who was accused of luring a teen girl from a Mavericks game and forcing her into prostitution, according to court records.

Emanuel Cartagena, 33, was accused of luring the 15-year-old from the Mavericks game on April 8, 2022, and later sexually assaulting her. He was arrested earlier this year on a charge of sexual assault of a child.

The no bill decision handed up by the grand jury last month means its members decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute the case. Because of the decision, Cartagena is no longer facing charges.

North Richland Hills police have said the girl was found last year at a motel in Oklahoma City, where she was forced into prostitution.

During the second quarter of the Mavericks game at American Airlines Center in Dallas, the girl got up to go to the bathroom, according to a news release. Surveillance video provided to an attorney with Fortenberry Firm PLLC, who represents the victim’s family, showed the girl speak to a man on the concourse while they were passing each other and then rush to catch up with and follow him.

The man, who along with two others used a valid ticket to get into the American Airlines Center and then was escorted to a suite for which they did not have tickets by a former Dallas Mavericks employee, walked out of the building with the girl and spent about an hour walking around outside the center with her before leaving, according to the release. Zeke Fortenberry, who is representing the family, said in the release there was no evidence the man and girl had any prior communication.

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The 15-year-old was found 10 days later at an Extended Stay America hotel where she was being prostituted, according to Fortenberry. His law firm said in a previous email to the American Airlines Center, Dallas police and the hotel that they failed the victim and her family.

Fortenberry said previously that Dallas police refused to investigate the incident and that the American Airlines Center and Extended Stay America hotel in Oklahoma City failed to protect the 15-year-old from her traffickers. The release referred to the man who she left with as a “person of interest.”

Oklahoma City police found that the teen was being held at an Extended Stay America hotel and made arrests and recovered the girl, who is from North Richland Hills, on April 18, 2022. Eight people were arrested in Oklahoma on charges including human trafficking, distribution of child pornography and rape.