Bridal salon run by U.S. Marshals following exploitation raid


by Kristine Harrington

Posted on July 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 22 at 8:37 PM

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - U.S. Marshals are running a bridal shop in Flagstaff after the owners were arrested for what's being called modern day slavery.

The McReynolds family of four ran the "I Do, I Do Wedding Boutique." Federal officials say the family brought Vietnamese immigrants to the U.S. promising marriage but then for seven years forced them to work long hours for little or no pay.

Since early Friday morning costumers, brides and grooms, have been coming by desperate for answers and thankfully the U.S. Marshalls were there to help.

It’s now the U.S. Marshals that are making sure customers get their tuxedos and wedding gowns this after the bridal shop in Flagstaff was raided and its owners, Huong Thi "Kelly" McReynolds, 58; Joseph Minh McReynolds, 36; Vincent Minh McReynolds, 32; and James Hartful McReynolds, 60, were arrested for human trafficking.

Sandy Bailey, a long time loyal customer says, “I just can't believe it. I’m in shock this place has been here so long. We come here for proms and things like that, every major milestone we've used them, they've been wonderful can't ask for better.”

Federal investigators say the McReynolds got many of their employees from Vietnam, starting in 2001, promising them the American Dream but instead forcing them to work at the bridal salon and the family home and threatening their lives while paying them little if anything at all.

Helena Reilly has lived across the street for years and says. “There was a lot of Asians living there I just assumed it was their family.” That is until Thursday when, “The FBI had guns drawn and a battery ram and I’m like ok what’s going on here.”

Even loyal customers who knew the family say they never suspected a thing.

“I've been here four times; my wedding, my sister's wedding and both my proms,” said Cassandra Mueller. “I only dealt with the owner, the mom, and the son; I went to school with him.”

Cassandra is just thankful the U.S. Marshalls are helping those customers caught up in this mess.

People like her sister whose wedding is in just a few weeks and needless to say is freaking out.
“Yeah, that's an understatement,” says Mueller. “My sister was a mess but she's doing a lot better now thank god.”

The McReynolds face several federal charges including forced labor conspiracy, forced labor, unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of forced labor, violation of fair labor standards act, marriage fraud and conspiracy,

If you are customer of the bridal shop, the best advice is to call the Flagstaff U.S. Marshal’s office at 928-213-0045 and be prepared to show your receipt or proof of purchase.

They say the records at the salon are a disaster but they are doing everything they can to keep wedding parties happy.