Coweta woman safe after being held against her will and abused, police say

Coweta woman safe after being held against her will and abused, police say
Police say Gary Ballard held his girlfriend against her will and forced her to dance at a gentleman's club in Kansas for money. (Cherokee County Jail)

COWETA, Okla. — A Coweta woman is safe at home after police say she was held against her will, abused, and forced to dance at a gentleman’s club for money by her boyfriend.

Coweta police told FOX23 the 23-year-old woman’s family reported her missing on Dec. 26. The family told police she had been missing since early in the month and it was unlike her not to call -- especially on Christmas.

The family told police she was with her “on-again, off-again” boyfriend and they feared for her safety.

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Police say Gary Ballard held his girlfriend against her will and forced her to dance at a gentleman's club in Kansas for money.
Police say Gary Ballard held his girlfriend against her will and forced her to dance at a gentleman's club in Kansas for money. (Cherokee County Jail)

Officers called the woman’s phone and say the boyfriend -- Gary Ballard -- answered and told officers not to call again.

Police tracked the phone to Galena, Kansas where they worked with Cherokee County deputies to find her.

Deputies say they went undercover at a gentleman’s club and found the woman there as a dancer.

The woman told officers she was being held against her will -- saying Ballard beat her, forced her to dance for money, and refused to let her leave or talk to her family.

Authorities arrested Ballard who is being held in Cherokee County Jail on allegations of aggravated human trafficking and aggravated kidnapping.

The FBI is investigating the case because the woman was taken across state lines.