Hotel guest’s ‘donation’ leads to prostitution arrest

Published 12:01 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2015

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A hotel manager’s online detective work led to the arrest of a man and a woman suspected of participating in prostitution.

Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Capt. Randy Fewless said hotel staffers called police after guests in one room of the hotel became disruptive on Jan. 30. One guest, a 32-year-old Traverse City woman, had posted comments on a website known to be connected to prostitution.

The hotel manager, who didn’t want to be identified, told the Traverse City Record-Eagle that he occasionally checks the website if he sees guests he is suspicious of. He does so, he said, because prostitution often brings with it related problems like guns and drugs.

“It’s not just the act,” he said. “We’re dealing with everything that comes with it.”

Hotel staff drew a similar connection between a guest and the website during an incident earlier in January. A police report from Jan. 2 states that a manager grew suspicious about a female guest after she appeared at the front desk in revealing clothing.

The manager traced the woman’s phone number to the website and called authorities, who interviewed the woman and Jerry Lynn Lown, 68, of Traverse City, who had been with the 26-year-old Carmel, Ind., resident in her room.

Lown told deputies he gave a $150 “donation” to the woman who performed a sexual act. He said he was “pretty sure” the Carmel woman was the person he met, but surveillance video showed another Indiana woman, Thyshee Thylan Walker, 20, of South Bend, also leaving the room. She faces a misdemeanor prostitution charge, and Lown is charged with engaging the services of a prostitute.

A pretrial hearing for Lown is set for Feb. 10.