Ooltewah, TN

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Ooltewah is a census-designated place in Hamilton County, Tennessee, near Chattanooga. Its population is roughly 750.  Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented as problems throughout the county for decades, including in the community of Ooltewah.  For example, in 2012, a 23-year-old man was arrested in response to a report of an assault on Willow Street in Ooltewah.  Responding police met the woman who made the report.  She had cuts on her arms, face and head, and said she had been picked up by a white male for prostitution, and was taken to a location on E. 23rd Street. She said the man attacked her there, beating her in the head with a hammer.  The woman provided a description of the assailant, and was taken by ambulance to Erlanger Hospital. Several days later, the suspect was seen driving around Highland Park.  He was stopped and gave police a statement, saying he had been picking up prostituted women and was trying to trick them into giving him free sex.  He corroborated the woman’s allegations about the assault, telling police he had picked her up and tried to rob her, but she fought back. He said he “did not like that she was fighting back and wanted her to be afraid and to do what he said.”  He said she “was putting up a good fight” so he pulled out a hammer and began to hit her in the head, and at one point he and the woman were fighting over a knife.  The man also confessed “to attacking a number of unidentified prostitutes in the same manner.”  He said he “enjoyed the power he felt” while beating the prostituting women. He told police he had been reading about serial killer Ted Bundy and “wanted to be like him.”  He was charged with especially aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and patronizing prostitution, and was held on an $80,000 bond. Two years later, the man pleaded guilty and was given a four-year prison sentence. As part of the plea agreement, dismissed were charges of especially aggravated robbery, and patronizing prostitution.

In July 2021, a man was arrested and charged with aggravated rape after he allegedly picked up a prostituted woman in downtown Chattanooga, then took her to his home in Ooltewah and told her she was going to be his “sex slave.” The man was charged with aggravated kidnapping, two counts of rape, aggravated assault, patronizing prostitution and possession of drugs without a prescription. The woman said he held her captive for an 18-hour period in the incident, and said that he drugged her and violently raped her repeatedly until she was finally able to get away. A mail carrier spotted her leaving the residence, and he took her to a nearby church where she called the Sheriff’s Office. The woman was taken to a hospital and was found to have suffered numerous physical injuries. Detectives corroborated details of the women’s version of the events after getting a search warrant and entering the suspect’s residence.

Key Partners

  • Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

State Tennessee
Type City
Population 744
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