New details: Man arrested for human trafficking at Mackinac Bridge took teen from UP home

The Mackinac Bridge from St. Ignace, looking South,
The Mackinac Bridge from St. Ignace, looking South,(Mackinac Bridge Authority)
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 3:47 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:34 PM EST
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FORSYTH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE: A case file obtained from the Forsyth Township Police Department (FTPD) reveals the man arrested for human trafficking at the Mackinac Bridge earlier this month took the teenage girl from a foster home in the Upper Peninsula.

Terrence Clay, 38, of Comstock Park was arrested on Nov. 12 in Cheboygan County after Mackinac Bridge workers reported seeing someone hiding under a blanket in his car. He was charged with six felonies, including human trafficking.

According to the FTPD’s case file, the teen found with Clay was reported missing earlier that morning from a foster home in Forsyth Township. The FTPD said dispatch then pinged the teen’s cell phone just east of Naubinway on US-2, which is about an hour west of the Mackinac Bridge. From there, police put out a description of the missing teen.

The file said later that day, dispatch told FTPD the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Office had located the missing teen, who was found in Clay’s car. The Cheboygan County Sheriff also said the MSP had informed them that Clay was the main suspect in a human trafficking case in Kent County.

According to a Department of Human Services (DHS)/Child Protective Services (CPS) worker who spoke to police, the teen had a documented history of being trafficked.

In addition, notes from a police interview with the missing teen revealed she had formerly been in contact with Clay while living in Lower Michigan. After entering the foster system and being moved to Forsyth Township, she said she obtained a phone and began contacting Clay via text. The teen told police Clay began asking for the address at which she was living in the U.P.

Clay allegedly informed the teen that he was on his way to get her before arriving on Nov. 12 and taking her from the home.

Clay was arrested by the Cheboygan County Sheriff and lodged at their jail until charges against him in Kent County were processed on Nov. 18. He was then transferred to Kent County Jail.

Clay is currently lodged at Kent County Jail on a $300,000 bond. He will next appear in the 93rd District Court for a preliminary exam on Dec. 14 at 9:45 a.m.

Meanwhile, after Clay’s arrest, the teenage girl was transported back to the Upper Peninsula home by DHS/CPS workers.

Last published: Nov 28, 2022 5:44:29 PM

The 38-year-old man arrested for human trafficking at the Mackinac Bridge earlier this month for attempting to smuggle a teen into the Upper Peninsula has been arraigned.

Terrence Clay of Comstock Park was arraigned in Kent County 93rd District Court on Nov. 23. He was charged with six felonies:

  • 1 county of child abusive commercial activity
  • 2 counts of using a computer to commit crime (max imprisonment of 20 years or more)
  • 1 count of human trafficking— procuring a person for forced labor-injury
  • 2 counts of child sexually abusive material-possession

Michigan Department of Corrections documents show he was on parole at the time of his offense for a crime he committed in 2017. He was sentenced in August of that year for two charges: assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder or by strangulation and felony firearm possession.

According to the MDOC file, Clay’s parole began June 28, 2022 and was set to end in June of 2023.

Clay is currently lodged at the Kent County Jail on a $300,000 bond. He will next appear in the 93rd District Court for a preliminary exam on Dec. 14 at 9:45 a.m.

Last published: Nov 22, 2022 4:03:34 PM

A 38-year-old man from Comstock Park was arrested for human trafficking after Mackinac Bridge Authority workers spotted him attempting to smuggle a teen across the bridge and into the Upper Peninsula.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Task Force arrested the Comstock Park man on Nov. 12, after investigating him since the month prior.

Investigators with the task force received a tip in October about the suspect and had been working on leads since. The initial investigation found that the man befriended a 16-year-old Grand Rapids girl while in a public area. From there, she was trafficked through online postings.

On Nov. 12, KCSO received information that the teen was in the Upper Peninsula and possibly in the company of the man. Information was broadcast to Northern Michigan authorities and an observant staff member for the Mackinac Bridge Authority saw the suspect driving and a person hiding under a blanket in the back seat.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority summoned law enforcement and the vehicle was stopped after crossing the bridge into the U.P.

The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office authorized charges of: sexually abusive activity, human trafficking, possession of child abusive material, and using a computer to commit a crime. The man is expected to be arraigned in 63rd District court as early as Wednesday Nov. 23, according to a Kent County Sheriff’s deputy.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office wants to thank the quick action of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, Michigan State Police, Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tuscarora Township Police Department in helping bring this case to resolution.