Two of 3 men on local massage parlor tapes identified
The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office was flooded with calls Thursday after investigators asked for the public’s help in identifying three men who were captured on video at two Waco massage parlors that authorities raided in December.
Two of the three men have been identified and one of the two called the sheriff’s office, confessed, and told investigators he had also confessed to his wife, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said Thursday afternoon.
The names of the two weren’t immediately released.
The three are among nearly 400 customers captured on camera.
"We're getting people from all walks of life, law agencies, football coaches, school teachers. It's just mind-boggling especially with the publicity that y'all are giving this effort, that we're giving it, but they keep coming out and doing this," McNamara said.
Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact Det. Joseph Scaramucci at (254) 757-5170 or Det. Derek Russell at (254) 757-5114.
They’re also asking customers of the two parlors to contact them.
“We are asking at this time, if you visited with of the establishments that you contact either detective in order to resolve these cases,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post Thursday.
Authorities raided the massage parlors on Dec. 4, 2017 at 2625 West Waco Dr. and 2509 Washington Ave. and after the raids discovered the parlors were equipped with cameras that captured video of employees performing sex acts on customers.
The owner, Chun Yang Zhang, 47, of Austin, was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity as a result of the raids.
Zhang was released from the McLennan County Jail on Dec. 9 after posting a $30,000 bond, according to jail officials.
Investigators said at least three women were working for Zhang and paid her to live at the businesses, in addition to giving her most of their earnings.
The women were handed over to UnBound, a local group that helps human trafficking victims.
All were immigrants and didn't speak English, but investigators were able to question them through a Mandarin interpreter.
Eleven area men have been named in misdemeanor prostitution complaints stemming from the videos.
On Wednesday, Charles Shifflett, 35, of Eddy, was booked into the McLennan County jail on a prostitution charge.
An arrest affidavit says he was observed on camera "receiving an hour long massage, and at the conclusion is observed to be receiving sexual acts."
Also arrested and charged with prostitution were Matthew Panter, 57; Morris Sappington, 63; Elliott Stallings, 44; John Bull, 63; Kyle Crow, 53; Daniel Henderson, 64; Stephen Johnson, 44, a former sheriff’s deputy; Edward Espinosa, a former community outreach pastor; Timothy Comer, 67, a Christian publisher, and Kevin Chirafis, 39.
While in jail, Panter was also served with a warrant charging felony injury to a child/elderly/disabled with intent to cause bodily injury.
According to an affidavit and an emergency protective order, he punched a boy “with a closed fist two times on the right arm, causing extreme pain.