It’s been four years since Corinna Slusser left her small Pennsylvania town for the big lights of New York City, only to be sex-trafficked in the weeks leading up to her disappearance.
The 19-year-old college student was last spotted on Sept. 20, 2017, as she left the Haven Motel in Queens, a pay-by-the-hour establishment in Rego Park. In the interim between her move to New York and her vanishing two months later, Slusser’s image was circulated on advertisements promoting prostitution.
A year later, her alleged pimp, 23-year-old Ishi Woney, was charged with sex crimes against Slusser and another victim, as previously reported. The crimes took place in the month before Slusser’s disappearance.
“As alleged, Woney compelled his victim to engage in prostitution through force and coercion, and he used both this victim and Corinna Slusser, who has been missing since September 2017, in online advertisements promoting prostitution,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney said in a press release at the time.
In a new interview, Slusser’s mother Sabrina Tuotro told the New York Post about the despair of not knowing where her daughter is.
“My biggest fear is that I’ll never get closure,” said Tuotro. “That I’ll never know what happened to her.”
Woney is currently serving a 15-year sentence at a federal prison, but he wasn’t the only dangerous man associated with the missing teen.
Shortly after arriving in New York, Slusser became involved with 32-year-old Yhovanny Peguero, a convicted pimp who allegedly trafficked Slusser, according to the New York Post. On Aug. 25, 2017, Peguero and Slusser got into an altercation after she accused him of stealing $300 from her purse. The argument ended when Peguero allegedly pushed Slusser against a wall and began choking her, the New York Post reported, citing police sources.
Slusser was granted a temporary restraining order against Peguero just one month before her disappearance, according to records cited by the Post.
During that month, Slusser began working out of the Haven Motel under the control of Ishi Woney, according to the Post, all while Peguero kept pleading for Slusser to return.
“Once we come to that agreement watch how imma treat you,” Peguero texted Slusser, according to messages viewed by the New York Post. “We just went through a very bad experience. Honestly sweetheart if u would’ve just stuck to the plan that I had for us we would’ve never had that.”
Soon, Slusser had a falling out with Woney after another sex-trafficking victim became jealous of their relationship, according to the Post. On Sept. 20, 2017, the date of Slusser’s disappearance, Woney said he left Slusser at the Haven Motel in a room paid for by another man. At around 7:00 p.m., Slusser desperately texted Peguero because she was without money or food.
“I’m just scared to come to you [because] of everything,” Slusser texted Peguero.
Peguero agreed to pick her up, but on the condition that she return to work for him, the Post reported, citing the text messages. Slusser was never seen again, but Peguero denies having anything to do with her disappearance. Last June, he was arrested for promoting prostitution and cocaine possession.
Neither Woney nor Peguero have been charged in connection to Slusser’s disappearance.
“It’s been four years… but I shouldn’t give up,” Slusser’s mother told the Post. “Everybody tells me there’s a possibility she’s out there. That’s what I live off. I just pray to God, and I just keep trying to have faith.”
Anyone with information related to Corinna Slusser’s disappearance should contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
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