GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – A mother and her daughter from Greeley are in jail and accused of running a prostitution business.
Amanda Becker, 25, and Sherry Whitacre, 43, were taken to the Weld County Jail after being arrested Tuesday on child abuse and prostitution charges. The arrests came after a sting operation in which an undercover officer contacted the women for an appointment.
Police say Becker and Whitacre were running their operation out of their residence in the Village Gardens Apartments and advertised their services on the website backpage.com.
Neighbors say that as shocking as the charges are, the real victim may be a 2-year-old boy who lived in the home. The boy is now in the care of protective services.
Sgt. Susan West with Greeley police said police received a tip from the apartment manager last week that the mother and daughter were running escort ads on the website. She said the undercover officer in the sting used the site to set up their meeting.
“He had exchanged money at which point she began to disrobe. He then gave the signal to the officers and they came in,” she said.
Becker’s son was in the apartment when officers arrived.
“It’s very disturbing,” West said. “The child is basically a victim of the same crime for no fault of his own.”
“Men would follow me into the apartments and I wouldn’t even stop to think,” said neighbor Connie Duran, whose 4-year-old granddaughter lives in the building. “It’s awful things like that happen right in front of your house and children.”
Duran told CBS4 she never suspected the activity was going on right across the hall from her apartment.
“She came over a couple times to use my phone and she always looked so nervous,” she said. “Her little boy would just burst into our apartments — mine and my neighbors — and he was a cute little boy.”
Augustine Perez, another neighbor, says he also knows Becker.
“I’d say hi to her in the hall from time to time,” he said. “If you’re going to do stuff like that don’t have a kid around.”
Duran said she plans to keep a closer eye on her neighbors from now on.