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Archie Ingersoll, Published December 02 2013

Trucker accused of kidnapping, abusing female relative in semi for 6 months

MOORHEAD – For six months, a trucker from Salt Lake City allegedly held a 19-year-old female relative captive and sexually abused her while making deliveries around the country.

It was ultimately a trip through Clay County that led authorities to arrest the trucker and free the woman, according to court papers filed Monday.

The trucker, 53-year-old Timothy Vafeades, was charged with felony counts of false imprisonment and kidnapping to hold in involuntary servitude, as well as a misdemeanor count of domestic abuse.

Court papers outline the extent of the control the woman claimed Vafeades exerted over her, with him going so far as filing down some of her teeth with a Dremel power tool and making her wear dentures over her real teeth, which he thought looked crooked.

The woman told an investigator with the Clay County Sheriff’s Department that Vafeades had several pairs of dentures for himself that he kept in the truck, including a set with two front teeth sharpened into vampire fangs. She said Vafeades is obsessed with vampires, so much that he named his trucking company, Twilight Express Trucking, according to court papers.

The semi Vafeades was driving was stopped at a Clay County weigh station Nov. 26, and through a routine check, authorities learned a protection order barred him from being with the female relative. The lifetime protection order was issued in Florida in 1999, according to court documents, which do not explain the reason for the order.

The woman told investigators her ordeal began after she made contact with Vafeades, who had last seen her when she was a young girl, in the hope of building a relationship with him. In May, she left her home in Florida and went to Salt Lake City, expecting to help with his trucking business, court papers stated.

During her first night in Salt Lake City, she told authorities she woke to him performing a sex act on her. Scared and stunned, she told him she did not want to have sexual relationship, she said. He responded by saying that he was not going to let her leave, court papers stated.

After that, Vafeades took the woman on the road as he made deliveries, and they slept together on the single bed in the semi cab. She told investigators that every two to three days, he made her give him a full-body massage and have sex with him. He also forced her go to the bathroom in a pot in the truck and only let her shower five or six times during the six months he held her against her will, according to court papers.

The woman reported that Vafeades required her to hold his hand in truck stops and would become angry if he thought she had made eye contact with others, so angry that he sometimes hit her after they returned to the truck. She estimated that he struck her 20 to 30 times during her captivity. He once told her he was capable of killing her, court papers stated.

Vafeades was being held Monday at the Clay County Jail. His bail was set at $500,000 with conditions and $1 million without.

A phone message left for the Clay County public defender’s office, which is representing Vafeades, was not returned Monday.

His criminal history shows numerous convictions related to domestic abuse in the 1980s and 1990s. More recently, he was convicted of domestic abuse assault in July 2012.

In this case, Clay County prosecutor Brian Melton said his office does not plan to bring sexual assault charges against Vafeades because authorities do not have any evidence the woman was assaulted in Clay County.

His next court hearing is set for Dec. 23.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Archie Ingersoll at (701) 451-5734