Forced acts trapped teen prostitute in Iowa web


In a white stucco one-and-a-half story house on the east end of Wellman, 13-year-old M.B. became Demont Bowie’s sex slave and housekeeper.

The suburban Minneapolis girl never had been to Iowa before. Now she apparently was trapped in the state, in this small town about 25 miles southwest of Iowa City.

“We were in the middle of nowhere,” she’d later tell investigators. “All I could see was farms and fields and dirt roads.”

It was mid-March 2005, and for the next week, Demont, then 25, made the girl repeatedly give oral sex to him and other men at the house he shared with Toni Debler. When she tried to refuse, she said he choked her, digging his fingernails into her neck. She was terrified and disoriented — fed heroin, cocaine, marijuana and crack, deprived of sleep and food. When she was allowed to sleep, her bed was a tangle of blankets on the cellar floor, she testified in court later.

She said Demont hit or beat her every day, once with a curtain rod. He made her call him “Daddy.”

Toni thought the girl was the daughter of one of Demont’s Minneapolis friends. Her aunt later told police she thought M.B. was a baby sitter.

“I didn’t think much about it,” she said.

Young girl put to work

Paul Nisly, then 50, met M.B. at Demont and Toni’s house. M.B. didn’t say much, he remembers, but he didn’t notice anything strange about her. Then Demont told the girl, “Show him what we do around here.” M.B took Nisly to the bathroom. Nisly thought they were going to do drugs.

But the girl, he says now, told him she thought she was supposed to give him oral sex. He also says he told her no.

Another time, at Nisly’s house, Demont told M.B. to give him oral sex in front of a group of people doing drugs in the living room. Then he told her to give Nisly oral, too.

Nisly tried to oblige. “I was, I guess, trying to show off to a couple boys that were there. I know if they were offered they would have tried it.”

He continued: “Then we went in the bedroom because — I wanted to act like I was appreciating his gift.”

Nisly asked the girl why she hung around with Demont. Was it the drugs? She said to be quiet.

“If he hears us talking, he’ll know I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Nisly remembers her saying.

“I guess I understood then that he was maybe kind of a pimp,” he said.

David Schwartz, 42, of Kalona, told police Demont offered him sex with M.B. at Nisly’s house, but he declined. Schwartz said the girl looked only 15 or 16 years old.

“She was jail bait,” he said.

Nisly said it never crossed his mind that the girl was underage.

“She had makeup on and she was doing drugs — it just never occurred to me,” he said. “It was stupid. I feel stupid every time I think about it.”

Encounter with police

On March 26, at a downtown bar called the Chat-N-Chew, Demont asked Nisly if he could go snort some coke at Nisly’s house nearby, so Nisly gave him the key.

Nisly stopped by to lock the place up on his way from the bar to another party, and found a woman overdosing on his bed.

Demont had given her and M.B. heroin to snort, and then he’d left, telling M.B. he’d be right back. But he didn’t show.

“I was scared,” Nisly said. “She had her feet on the floor and she was laying backward, just laying there on the bed.”

M.B. recalled the incident later. “I’m out there trying to get something to eat, and I’m talking to her but she stops talking,” she said. “And I go over there and she’s not breathing.”

The woman had a heartbeat and gasped erratically. Someone dialed 911 and she was taken to University Hospitals. Police came and interviewed people in the house, including M.B. Instead of asking for help, she gave a fake name and address. She said she was 17.

“I told them I was someone completely different,” M.B. said.

“I was not there at all,” she said. “I had done a whole bunch of lines of heroin, I had been up for days, I didn’t eat. I was scared to death and when they showed up I just kind of looked around like ‘Oh, no.’ They asked very little about me — they were more concerned with her — so I didn’t say much to them.”

Demont had been stopped for a broken taillight, arrested for drunken driving and booked into the Washington County Jail.

Toni and Isaac Reed told M.B. she was going to stay with him.

“Isaac told me he was going to send me home,” M.B. said. He took her to his brother’s house in Iowa City.

It was a short reprieve. After Toni pawned her TV and window air conditioner to post Demont’s bail, Demont showed up at Tread Reed’s house. punched M.B. in the mouth and dragged her to Toni’s van. Then he called his father, Robert Sallis.

It was Easter Sunday, and Robert invited them over.

It would take someone with a lot more influence over Demont than Isaac Reed to change M.B.’s fate.

Saturday: A day in hell, and a missed opportunity.

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