Abilene investigators speak out on Sherman teen's sex trafficking, death

Published: Feb. 16, 2018 at 6:13 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Back in July, a Sherman teen was found brutally murdered in a Dallas pond. Investigators have been tight lipped on the details of her case, until now. For the first time we hear from one of the investigators in her case who said Mikayla Mitchell was a victim of human trafficking.

"She was taken by force by an unknown black male from the Midland-Odessa area," said a Taylor County Sheriff's Office Investigator, John Graham.

Graham began investigating Mitchell on July 10 when the vehicle she was in stopped and she escaped and ran for help.

"She entered a convenience store along I-20 in Merkel," Graham said. "And reported to the store clerk she had been assaulted."

Graham said Mitchell wasn't cooperative in their investigation, but they found disturbing images and evidence on her cell phone, indicating she was being trafficked for sex.

"Mikayla was real hesitant to provide details but was very adamant that she didn't want her stepfather to know what was going on," Graham said.

Her stepfather, Dr. Howard Gregg Diamond, was arrested in Sherman the next day, but not for anything related to Mitchell's kidnapping.

"We learned the stepfather was under investigation by the DEA through his pain management medical practice for some suspicious circumstances and some deaths of some of the clients," Graham said.

Mitchell's mom, Jennifer Diamond, picked up her daughter from the Abilene area and took her back home to Sherman, but investigators said she didn't stay long.

"Apparently Mikayla left the next day, left her mother's home," Graham said.

Last month Diamond told us her daughter didn't want to talk about what had happened and worried for her family's safety if she stayed.

Six days later, Mitchell was found dead in Dallas.

"She had been murdered and she had been in the water of that park," Graham said.

A report lists Darnell Dwight Smith, also known as 'Slick Rick' as a suspect in her kidnapping. Police told us he's a person of interest in her murder, but so far no one has been charged.

In January, Smith was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to dealing several kilos of hard drugs.

Investigators don't believe Mitchell's stepfather was involved in her kidnapping or murder, but he is facing a charge of domestic violence for allegedly abusing her months earlier.

Graham said whether Mitchell willingly went back to her captor is irrelevant because of her age.

"It doesn't matter if those kids are being trafficked are from here or from somewhere else, they're high risk children," Graham said. "Even though Mikayla was 17 years of age, she's still a child."

If you have information regarding Mitchell's death, contact Dallas Police.