Details of Disappearance In 2017, Slusser dropped out of Bloomsburg Area High School one class short of graduation and moved in with living with friends in her hometown of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. She had been a cheerleader in school and dreamed of becoming a makeup artist. She didn't get along with her mother and hoped to move in with her aunt in Massachusetts in January 2017.
In the summer of 2017, she met a man named Yhovanny Peguero, who told her he could give her a place to stay in New York City. She traveled to New York in July, taking only her cellular phone and identification; she didn't even take any extra clothes.
After her arrival she kept in touch with her family and friends, contacting them on a near-daily basis. She indicated everything was going well, but after her later disappearance, her family found out she'd been working as a prostitute, advertising on the internet to get clients.
At 1:00 a.m. August 25, Slusser called 911 from the Harlem Vista Hotel in Manhattan and said Peguero, a man whom she identified as her pimp and called "daddy", had stolen $300 from her and that when she confronted him, he grabbed her by the throat, choked her and slammed her against the wall. When police arrived at the scene, she was still very upset, shaking and crying.
Peguero was arrested and charged with harassment, third-degree assault and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. A temporary order of protection against him was issued by the court on Slusser's behalf. When her family in Pennsylvania found out about the attack, she downplayed it and told them there was nothing to worry about.
In September, Slusser's grandfather died, and Slusser agreed to go to his funeral in Florida, but a day later she called her mother and said her Social Security card and driver's license had been stolen and so she couldn't fly. She did, however, want to return home to Pennsylvania.
Slusser's mother went to Florida for the funeral on September 19, and Slusser was supposed to arrive home in Pennsylvania the next day, but her mother wasn't able to get in touch with her, and upon her return, she found out Slusser had ever arrived in Pennsylvania. Her mother reported her missing.
Although Slusser's family last heard from her on September 20, according to her family, she was last seen in the early morning hours of September 20, leaving the Haven Motel on Woodhaven Boulevard by 68th Avenue in the Rego Park neighborhood of Queens. Slusser had been very active on social media prior to her disappearance, but after September 20 all her posts stopped completely.
Investigators believe Slusser passed through the control of several pimps. In November 2018, Ishi Colin Woney, one of Slusser's pimps, was charged with sex trafficking a woman named only as Victim 1.
The prosecution alleges that between September 2017 and November 2018, Woney used coercion, force and fraud to force Victim 1 to engage in sex acts for money, and brought her to different states, including New York, for this purpose. He also bought online ads promoting prostitution, some of which featured Slusser alongside Victim 1 and offered a "two girl special."
Between September 10 and September 20, the day Slusser disappeared, she exchanged over 800 text messages with Woney. They reportedly had an argument on September 20, because Victim 1 was upset about his relationship with Slusser. Woney said he would take Slusser to another hotel and give her to another man. She was never seen again.
A photo of Woney is posted with this case summary. In May 2019, he reached a plea agreement with the prosecution, pleading guilty to four of the five charges against him. He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. At his sentencing, Slusser's mother asked him where she was and if she was alive, and Woney replied, "Honestly, I don't know. I never passed her off to anybody. Is she dead or alive? I'm honestly not sure, but I pray she's alive."
Slusser's disappearance remains unsolved.
- New York Police Department
Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 29, 2021; details of disappearance updated.