The woman arrested that police said brought a then 12-year-old girl to a local market to have sex with the owner in exchange for groceries and money appeared in court Friday afternoon.
Police had been searching for 29-year-old Wilnelia David, who is a friend of the girl's family.
According to officials, David is accused of bringing the girl to Keithbel Market on Zion Street where the owner, Ruffino Fernandez, sexually assaulted the girl several times in the store's basement over a period of four to five months last fall.
The teen told investigators she had to perform sex acts on Fernandez, and police said they used surveillance footage from the market to corroborate the girl's story.
"She was brought to the convenience store and whereby her services were exchanged, with the authorization of this family friend," said Hartford police Sgt. Glendaly Garcia. "And the child was then a victim of the sexual assault incidents."
Fernandez was first investigated in late December after a picture of him and the girl surfaced on a witness' cell phone.
After allegations of the sex assault surfaced, Channel 3 Eyewitness News went digging for answers and uncovered some information that showed this isn't the first time the market has been the subject of an investigation.
According to records, the Keithbel Market, which was closed Thursday, has been in trouble with authorities in the past after being cited for issues ranging from selling cigarettes to minors and various liquor law violations.
"It's not the first time the store has been closed," said Lucia Wilfred, of Hartford.
Neighbors told Eyewitness News that Fernandez tried to lure other women and girls into his basement.
Police are investigating to see if there are other victims as well.
David was arrested Thursday afternoon and is now facing multiple charges including leaving a child under the age of 12 unsupervised, risk of injury to a minor, prostitution, fourth-degree sex assault, sexual assault of a victim under 13 and first-degree sex assault.
In court on Friday Judge Joan Alexander increased her bond to $350,000, due to the seriousness of the charges and gave David a new court date for May 25.
Eyewitness News visited David's home where the station was told "no comment" and a door was slammed in the reporter's face.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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Friday, August 29 2014 10:05 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:05:45 GMT
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