Police study case of teen allegedly held captive

CHICAGO – Days after police stormed a southwestern Illinois home on the allegation that a teenage girl had been held captive and forced into sex, authorities wouldn't say whether an ongoing investigation would result in additional charges.

Two people were charged in the case on Saturday, but none of the charges allege that the St. Louis, Mo., woman, now 19 years old, was held against her will for more three years.

"We are still investigating," Washington Park Police Chief David Clark told The Associated Press on Sunday. He declined to comment further.

Steven Johnson, 25, of Washington Park, faces several charges, but authorities said just one charge – aggravated criminal sexual assault – is connected to the case. St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said Saturday that Stephen Johnson had sex with the teenager when she was underage.

Johnson also faces a promotion of prostitution charge, two felony drug charges and a felony gun charge.

His mother, 54-year-old Owida Johnson, was charged two counts of child endangerment. Both were arrested Thursday.

Attempts to reach the Johnsons, who were in police custody, were unsuccessful Sunday. It was unclear if they had attorneys.

Police said the 19-year-old woman fled the house Monday with the help of a relative. She told authorities that she was beaten daily, sexually assaulted and forced to have a child, and that she repeatedly tried to escape the house, which is on the edge of East St. Louis.

She also told police that Owida Johnson had helped detain her and falsify medical records when the now 2-year-old child was born.

Police found the children living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, including exposed wiring, spoiled food in the refrigerator, animal feces, insects and vermin, Kelly said. The children are in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Police say the teenager told them she met the suspect through a social acquaintance and visited his home around the time she was reported missing in April 2009. The man wouldn't allow her to go back to her parents, she told police.

Members of the Johnson family have refuted the woman's allegations in local newspapers, saying she was never held against her will and was free to leave as she pleased.

Bail for Steven Johnson has been set at $2 million, while Owida Johnson's bail was set at $15,000.

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