ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – Three men face criminal charges in St. Charles County after they allegedly held a victim captive for several months, repeatedly beat him, and forced him into labor, according to court documents obtained Thursday by FOX 2.
Prosecutors have charged Venkatesh R. Sattaru, Sravanvarma Penumetcha and Nikhil V. Penmatsa in connection with the investigation.
Court documents state that Sattaru is a cousin of the victim, described as a 20-year-old Indian national.
Per court documents, authorities learned of these allegations during a recent wellness check in Defiance, Missouri. Investigators say the victim came out the front door pleading for help and had suffered multiple scars and bruises. Sattaru, Penumetcha and Penmatsa were arrested moments later.
The three suspects reportedly forced the victim to engage in multiple hours of unpaid work and complete various chores. Incidents were linked to homes in Defiance, Dardenne Prairie and O’Fallon.
Charges among the three suspects range from abuse through forced labor, trafficking, kidnapping and armed criminal action, among other offenses.
The St. Charles County Police Department confirmed there was a high-profile investigation Wednesday in Defiance near Highways D and DD. In a news release, police said there will be an announcement around 1 p.m. pertaining to “the arrest of three individuals on human trafficking and other related charges.”
FOX 2 is covering the press conference and will post updates here as they come into our newsroom. Refresh this page for the latest information.