Police arrested a Hollywood mother on charges of taking her teenaged daughter to New York to prostitute the 15-year-old during Super Bowl weekend.
Undercover police officers made contact with the mother, Yolanda Ostolaza, 39, and her 15-year-old daughter through the website Backpage, according to a New York police spokesperson. An officer met the teen in a hotel and she agreed to have sex for $200.
After she was arrested, the girl gave her age and told officers her mother was waiting for her in another hotel. The police arrested Ostolaza and Tara Todd, 23, in a Manhattan hotel on Wednesday a little after midnight. Investigators still were looking for the man who supposedly helped them.
Ostolaza later confessed to a Bronx detective.
“We came up here to work and make money with a pimp,” Ostolaza told the detective. “He knew she was going to work as an escort and become a prostitute. I thought my daughter was just going to do fetish things.”
Ostolaza was charged with promoting prostitution and placing the welfare of a child in danger, both misdemeanors. No charges were brought against Todd, who was later released.
Meanwhile, in the Hollywood apartment where mother and daughter had stayed for a few weeks, a young woman who identified herself as Ostolaza’s niece said that, as far as she knew, her aunt had never forced her daughter to do anything.
“Maybe she was brainwashed,” said the woman, who did not wish to be identified by name. She said Ostolaza and her younger daughter had been staying with her for the past few weeks. The aunt was unemployed and had gone on several job interviews, the woman said.
She said Ostolaza met Todd in the same apartment building.
“She first became a friend of the girl and later of Yolanda,” she said.
The woman said the last time she saw her aunt and cousin was Monday night, when Ostolaza said she ws going to the supermarket and would be back shortly.
Ostolaza never answered her cell, the woman said.
According to public records, Ostolaza and an older daughter, Keana del Río, had received a Jan. 16 court order on Jan. 16 to move out of their Palm Bay apartment in Central Florida.
The woman said Ostolaza and her daughter were very close.
“It’s as if their umbilical cord had never been cut,” the woman said. “The girl told her mother everything.”
The niece described the daughter as “a happy young girl” who dressed like a tomboy and liked computers, fashion and hiphop.
Court records show that Ostolaza had pleaded guilty of possessing heroin in 1995 in New Jersey.
The family moved to Florida more than two years ago seeking milder weather and better schools for her daughter.
“She seemed to have no worry whatsoever,” the niece added. “She had food and a roof over her head.”