Amber Michelle Parker, a former 8th-grade reading teacher, faces a human trafficking charge after investigators said she attempted to sell an underage girl to men in Morocco for sex.
Deputies with the Freestone County Sheriff’s Office and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office in Texas reportedly monitored Parker for several months. She was arrested January 2, 2019.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Deputies: Parker Recently Traveled to Morocco & She Was Arrested After Returning Home to Texas
Investigators said it appeared that Amber Michelle Parker planned to take the young girl to Morocco to sell her as a prostitute. Deputies said they found evidence Parker had been communicating with men online about setting up future meetings.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara told CBS affiliate KWTX-TV that Parker posted semi-nude photos of the child in her underwear. They also found photos of the child with her breasts exposed. He said that Parker promoted the child as a virgin.
Parker traveled to Morocco in mid-December of 2018. She returned to Texas on January 1. She was arrested the following day and booked into the Freestone County Jail.
2. The Child Was a Family Member of Parker’s, Deputies Revealed
The Freestone County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a statement that the investigation began after deputies received a tip from a concerned family member.
According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the department asked the McLennan County Sheriff’s office for help with the investigation because that department has a unit that specialized in human trafficking cases.
Investigators have not specified exactly how Amber Parker was related to the child. Neither have they revealed the child’s age, only stating that she is a minor. Sheriff McNamara told KWTX-TV, “It’s a very low-down thing, it’s the worst of the worst when you prostitute your own relative, that’s as low as you get. It’s sickening to think a woman would stoop that low.”
3. Amber Michelle Parker Was Placed On Leave From Her Teaching Job But She Quit The Day After Her Arrest
Amber Michelle Parker was an 8th-grade reading teacher at the Mexia Independent School District. According to her Facebook page, she started working there in 2016. Prior to that, she taught math and science at Dawson Elementary School for seven years.
The school district placed Parker on leave within hours after hearing about her arrest. The Star-Telegram published a statement by superintendent Lyle DuBus. It read:
“Student safety is Mexia ISD’s No. 1 priority. We take these allegations seriously and we will be working closely with our partners in law enforcement. The district continues to monitor the situation and feels no students at Mexia Junior High were ever at risk.”
DuBus later confirmed to KWTX-TV that Parker resigned from her position on January 3.
4. Amber Michelle Parker is Married With One Daughter
Parker’s profile on the Mexia Independent School District website remained active as of late Thursday, January 3. Her bio included that she earned a teaching degree from Texas A&M University’s Commerce campus. That portion contained a typo; it said she graduated college in 2019. Her Facebook page clarified that she was part of the class of 2009.
Parker is married with one daughter. She shared that her daughter was a senior in high school. The family lives on a farm in Teague, Texas; she wrote that they raise chickens, pygmy goats and cows.
5. Deputies: Parker Allegedly is a Practicing Wiccan
McLennan County Sheriff McNamara told local reporters that Amber Michelle Parker is allegedly a practicing Wiccan. He told the local CBS station that they are not sure if there is any connection between the pagan religion and Parker’s suspected crime, but that they “haven’t ruled it out” while the investigation is ongoing.
According to inmate records, Parker is 37 years old. (Her birthday was listed as November 10, 1981). An online search of records did not reveal any prior arrests. Her name is also not listed in a federal database.