Fulton woman says motel is home to "laundry list" of crimes; wants it closed
FULTON - The Westwoods Motel in Fulton has been the site of 22 police reports in less than two years.
April DeTienne, a longtime resident of Fulton, says the motel has become, at the very least, a public nuisance and she's fed up with it.
She recently went before the Fulton City Council to express her concern about the motel and what she thinks the city should do about it.
“In my mind it needs to be closed. Indefinitely," DeTienne said.
She said the "laundry list" of illegal activity, ranges from drugs to prostitution, violence, death, overdoses and more. She said she knows what goes on there because, at a difficult time in her life, she spent a lot of time there.
“I’m an addict and I’ve been sober for three and a half years and, while I was active in my addiction, that’s where I spent most of my time, was at that hotel," DeTienne said. “So it became sort of a safe haven for that kind of activity and regulating it has not worked.”
Neither the management nor owners of the Westwoods Motel were available to talk.
DeTienne said she really doesn't know what else can be done.
“The owners have been cited, the police have made arrests. I mean, there are all of the things that you would want your police department to do, and they’ve done it," she said.
A co-founder of the Central MO Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, Nanette Ward, said she is fully behind DeTienne's efforts.
“It’s always great when there’s a community member who sees a need and takes an initiative," Ward said. "We definitely want to come along side them and support them and add to that voice. There is a problem.”
Ward said, in her ten years with the coalition, motels, hotels and truck stops have proven to be common sites of sex trafficking crimes.
She said she believes DeTienne knows what goes on at the Westwoods Motel.
“We just have no excuse not to learn and not to know and to accept that it truly is an issue and it’s relevant for each and every community that we live in," Ward said.
DeTienne said she is dedicated to these efforts through the William C. Potter foundation, named for her father. Shesaid its goal is to help people healing from sex crimes or searching for sobriety get on their feet with a strong support system.
She said her efforts to close the Westwoods Motel are another step in helping make a positive difference in the community.
“If there’s something wrong and you have the ability to take action, you have the responsibility to take action. And that’s my reason for doing this," DeTienne said.
She said she is still waiting to hear back from the Fulton City Council on if it plans to do anything about the motel.