Updated: Sep 2, 2021
By Joe Johnson
A University of Georgia student was one of two people charged this week for the alleged human trafficking of a missing 14-year-old girl from Cook County in Georgia.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, 23-year-old Nicholas Fernandez was charged with two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, enticing a minor for indecent purposes, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, statutory rape, and kidnapping.
According to his LinkedIn profile, the Alpharetta resident was pursuing a business administration degree at UGA’s Terry College of Business.
The UGA Police Department assisted the GBI in arresting Fernandez on campus Tuesday.
University spokesman Gregory Trevor said that Fernandez faced possible disciplinary action that ranged from interim suspension to expulsion.
“The University of Georgia finds these alleged crimes to be reprehensible and condemns them in the strongest terms,” Trevor said.
The GBI said they began an investigation on April 16, when the Sparks Police Department in Cook County asked the agency for assistance in locating the 14-year-old girl.
The investigation reportedly led to a house in Chestertown, Md., where the girl was found with 50-year-old resident Brady Hart, according to the GBI, which said that Fernandez was subsequently identified as Hart’s associate.
The GBI said warrants were secured in Cook and Athens-Clarke counties charging Hart with the same offenses as Fernandez.
The investigation is ongoing and the GBI asked for anyone with information regarding the investigation to call its Regional Office in Douglas at (912) 389-4103 or the Sparks Police Department at (229) 546-8211.