Valley teen helps police make arrest with her cellphone

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A Valley teen used her cellphone to help arrest a man for child prostitution. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A Valley teen used her cellphone to help arrest a man for child prostitution. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A Valley teen is talking for the very first time about how she kept her cool and helped police arrest a Maricopa man for child prostitution.

While many of us would run, she hit record.

Parents often fear technology, worrying what they’re exposing their kids to.

Now, police say having it at hand, which is second nature, can make all the difference in helping detectives build their case and make an arrest.

Aileeyah agreed to talk with us about her frightening encounter at Copper Sky Park in Maricopa on March 27 if we didn’t use her last name.

She said it just didn’t seem real.

“He's like 'come over here, I’m not gonna hurt you or anything,'" she said.   

“It just hit me, like, I should just record this!” she said.

Aileeyah recorded three video clips on Snapchat, then five minutes of audio, and shared it with us.  

[SPECIAL SECTION: Power of 2 | Empowering you to be safe]

“We could go out to Chandler, just get a room,” you can hear the man say.

“You know, Comfort Inn Suites, or wherever, nice room, have fun and giggle and laugh, whatever, and we'll proceed from there,” he said.

He asked the girls if they drink. Both said "no."

“You know, I’m a friendly person. I’m not a criminal,” he tried to assure them.

A shocking proposition to two teen girls in a city park in broad daylight.

Aileeyah is 19, the friend she was with is only 16, and police say the man who wanted to get a hotel room to "party" with them is 47.

Detectives said Michael Yousif is living with his estranged wife and two young kids, and told them he used to be a corrections officer.

Ailleyah said he asked the girls if they were looking for work.

The quick Snapchat clips recorded him saying, “Plenty of opportunities… and get paid.”

Aileeyah’s friend is heard asking, “Like together?” He replies, "Yeah, together, of course."

“Then he said, I wanna show you something and he showed us bills, $100, a stack of it. He's like, ‘I’m serious about this, no joke, I’m serious about this.’  And that's when I started freaking out," she said.

Aileeyah snapped a picture right as he pulled out a wad of hundred dollar bills.

Sgt. Stephen Judd of Maricopa Police Department said this kind of evidence can be the key to building a case.

“It was very on the ball of these girls to get a picture, get a video,” Judd said.

“When I started my career as a police officer 22 years ago, video was something we almost never had,” Judd said.

Mom, Tanya Taylor, is so thankful Aileeyah had had her phone with her and followed her instincts.

“I don't even know if I would have kept it cool, let alone think of recording. That would have been the last thing on my mind. I probably would have freaked out and ran away. You never know what's gonna happen, but we just pray that we give them the proper tools,” Taylor said.

So how did Aileeyah manage to do it without catching his attention?

“I was just acting like I was looking through my phone,” she said.

She crossed her arms holding her hand to show how she snapped that one still photograph without being caught.

She had Snapchat open on her phone and hit record three times then figured out how to quickly open her voice record feature and just let it roll while her phone was faced toward the gravel.

“I think it goes back to the old adage, remove yourself as quickly away from the situation and then record information. Take a pic of a license plate, take a pic of a vehicle, take a pic of a face. Now we don't want to clandestinely video or record someone and continue to engage them and continue to put ourselves more  deeper and deeper in danger,” Judd said.

Judd said you can also be overt about it, pull out your phone and say, "I’m recording you," or "you're on Facebook Live," and that might be enough to get them running the other way.

Police in Indiana say two teen girls found murdered the day after Valentine's, may have caught their killer on camera.

A photograph and an audio recording of an unidentified man taken off one of the teen's cellphones, is almost all detectives have to go on now. 

“But I think the big point on this case is, we all have cellphones. And it's easy to press just three numbers, 911 and get police responding your way,” Sgt. Judd said.

He pointed out how you can also call 911 and say nothing and dispatch will also record everything from the moment the call connects.

The audio recording ended with the girls talking about what just happened, and you can hear the fear in their shaken voices:

“Can we walk to the police station?”


“You got everything?”

“I got a picture of him.”

“Did you get his license plate?”

“No! I didn't!”

“That’s when we started running to the police station,” Aileeyah said.

There happens to be a precinct at Copper Sky Park. The girls went straight there and showed their recordings to police.

“My first thought was ‘how can I get this out there?’ Because others need to know that it’s happening,” Taylor said.

She immediately posted a warning on their neighborhood community page on Facebook.

Very quickly, some other equally concerned parents started suggesting they take matters into their own hands.

“That actually puts people in criminal situations themselves where they can then be charged with a crime because they retaliate,” Judd said.

The very next day, detectives arrested Yousif for child prostitution, loitering, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

“Let the police do their job. Sometimes people just have to be patient with an investigation,” Judd said.

“I felt like they weren't gonna believe it,” Aileeyah said.

Her fear was that this scary situation she never saw coming would be just too hard for anyone else to believe, which is what had her hit record.

She's glad it was enough to help police build a case and make the arrest.

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