An Oklahoma nonprofit that works with sex workers is holding a candlelight vigil for a 21-year-old woman whose naked body was found last week on a conveyor belt inside an Anaheim trash-sorting facility.
Outreach workers with No Boundaries International, a nonprofit based in Edmond, Okla., said they had frequent contact with Jarrae Nykkole Estepp in Oklahoma City in 2012, when she was featured in several videos of street life posted on YouTube and elsewhere.
The nonprofit planned to hold the vigil Monday evening.
Estepp’s body was found Friday morning amid the trash at the Republic Services recycling plant in an industrial area. Her death has been tentatively ruled a homicide.
Outreach workers with the nonprofit, dedicated to working with those involved in prostitution and human trafficking, said they had reached out to Estepp several times, said President Lori Basey.
“We knew her by her street name ‘Sarah,’” Basey said. “This is certainly not what we want to be the end of the story for girls like her.”
Estepp was arrested multiple times and convicted at least once for prostitution, according to online arrest and court records. In March 2012 she was arrested in Oklahoma City on suspicion of prostitution.
In January she was arrested in Elk City, Okla. on suspicion of petty larceny.
Estepp would speak with outreach workers and took a baby blanket for her son in 2012, Basey said. But they lost track of her shortly after. Her son is with extended family in Oklahoma, authorities said.
“Some of the girls that knew her out on the streets are just heartbroken,” Basey said. “Nobody is designed to be sold over and over throughout the day, to experience the violence and consequences these girls end up experiencing.”
Estepp was captured on video numerous times by JohnTV.com, which was examining prostitution on South Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City. In several clips, the woman identified as Estepp appears to be pregnant.
Meanwhile, police in Anaheim are trying to retrace Estepp’s steps in the days before her body was found at the recycling center.
Estepp was believed to have been in the area of South Beach Boulevard and Ball Road, a spot frequented by prostitutes, said Lt. Tim Schmidt, spokesman for the Anaheim Police Department.
Detectives believe the woman was probably dumped in a garbage bin and then delivered to the plant by a trash truck.
“The unusual manner in how she was found makes us believe she was murdered,” Schmidt said
There are no suspects, and investigators said they still don’t know how or when she arrived Anaheim.
Estepp was a resident of Empire, a tiny community outside Modesto, according to the Orange County coroner’s office. She also has family in Oklahoma.
She had a tattoo of cross with a rose on her left arm and the name Jodi on the left side of her neck. Police said the tattoos and her fingerprints were used to identify her.
Tarek Lizkala, a manager at a Chevron gas station at the intersection of South Beach Boulevard and Ball Road, said police requested their surveillance footage as part of their investigation.
Sandra Galindo, a florist designer at a nearby flower shop, said it’s not uncommon to see women wearing short skirts and revealing tops. The boulevard is home to several motels.
“People are always dealing drugs or picking girls up,” Galindo said. “I can’t believe it came to that, a girl being killed. It’s sad.”
Police are asking that anyone who saw Estepp in Anaheim between March 13 and March 14 call them at (714) 765-1944. Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) 847-6227.
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