Overview of Corinna Paige Slusser
Like so many other young women before her, 18 year old Corinna Paige Slusser came to the Big Apple with stars in her eyes to live a more exciting life than her small-town Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania existence could afford her.
Startlingly pretty, the former cheerleader, track star, aspiring hairstylist/makeup artist and YouTube influencer was certain to draw the attention of everyone she met. Unfortunately, her sky-blue eyes, long golden hair, and curvaceous figure attracted the attention of the wrong sort of people, and her glittering dreams turned into tawdry reality in short order. It has long been theorized by law enforcement that the teen had been groomed, lured into, and trafficked for the commercial sex trade.
As teenagers can tend to do, Corinna began to test the limits of her mother Sabina Tuorto’s boundaries about a year before she went missing, when something seemed to change for the bright and formerly engaged student. She lost interest in school, and inexplicably dropped cheerleading and running track. Instead, she began spending untold hours on her appearance, posting scantily dressed pictures to her social media, and getting in trouble for shoplifting, drinking, and partying. As her relationship with her mother grew more turbulent, Corinna sought to move in with a favorite aunt Julie, but this never materialized. When her intelligent but headstrong daughter dropped out of high school just a few credits shy of graduation, Sabina was at a loss as to how to help her. She recognized her daughter was acting out but was unable to uncover the root of her pain. The situation deteriorated until April of 2017 when Corinna was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Sources indicate it was here in this vulnerable state she met a man who persuaded her to come to New York City with him for a business opportunity, though some sources state she met this man on the website Seeking Arrangements, where it was later discovered she had created a profile. In hindsight, this was assumed to be a source of funding for Corinna’s newfound ability to buy expensive clothing and obtain her distinctive new tattoo, a large black flower on her sternum. Looking to escape what she thought of as her stifling small-town life she agreed to leave with this man, after a disastrous attempt at a roommate situation with a friend in nearby Hazelton, PA resulted in her being kicked out. Corinna left with little more than the clothes on her back, and the next time her mother heard from her was on a social media post that she was in Brooklyn, NY. Throughout August 2017, Sabina kept in constant touch with Corinna via phone and text. Still, she was unaware that her daughter was being exploited - becoming deeply involved in the sex trade and escort lifestyle, often using the name “Carissa”.
In late August-early September 2017, Sabina was surprised to get in the mail a Temporary Order of Protection granted to Corinna.
The order is listed as People vs. Yhovanny Peguero, Docket # 2017NY045585, and the expiration date is listed as 2/28/2018. It had been mailed to Corinna’s last known official address - her mother’s house in Bloomsburg. Sabina began to realize something was seriously wrong with Corinna’s situation and living arrangements, but Corinna brushed the incident off as an overreaction and assured her everything was fine. Is there a teenager on the planet who doesn’t think they are capable of handling any circumstances in which they find themselves? Meanwhile, Corinna met and had fallen under the influence of an aspiring rapper named Ishi Woney, who eventually controlled and exploited her. Woney placed paid online advertisements promoting prostitution for both Corinna and another individual, later referred to in court records as Victim-1. Multiple ads appeared on various escort websites for Corinna’s services, many under the name of “Carissa”. In hindsight, it was believed that she was not placing these ads herself because they didn’t even accurately state her height and weight. It became obvious that someone else describing her for the purpose of selling, and that she was becoming deeply enmeshed and eventually trapped in a sex trafficking ring.
During this time Corinna was still excitedly posting to social media about her new life in New York and her first apartment all to herself in the Bronx. Eventually, however, it became evident that she was fabricating much of this for social media - or worse, being forced to do so. A short while later she called Sabina stating that she wanted to come home; things weren’t turning out as she had hoped. It was clear to Sabina that her daughter had gotten in over her head, wasn’t sure how to extricate herself from the situation in which she’d found herself, and that the facade was crumbling. Corinna’s life was nothing resembling the pretty images she’d posted on her social media accounts. Corinna learned from Sabina that her grandfather had died, and she couldn’t even fly to Florida to attend her grandfather’s funeral. She claimed that her driver’s license and social security card had been stolen, which was another red flag that she was being trafficked; these perpetrators often hold back identifying documentation in order to control their victims. Sabina told her daughter to just come home to PA however she could; she’d be home from Florida shortly after the funeral and they would work everything out then. Corinna agreed, and they planned she’d come home the next day. Sabina naturally expected Corinna to be waiting for her at home when she returned from Florida, but she couldn’t reach her the entire time she was away, and she has never spoken to her beloved daughter again. She filed a missing persons report with local police, who contacted NYPD and learned of the Order of Protection against Peguero, raising concern that Corinna may be a victim of human trafficking. NYPD, and eventually the FBI, took the lead in investigating Corinna’s disappearance.
Corinna was last seen at the Haven Motel on Woodhaven Boulevard in Rego Park, Queens, on September 20, 2017.
Still under the control of Woney, Corinna had been moved from her usual spots in the Bronx and Harlem to this location because Victim-1, who considered Woney to be her boyfriend, was allegedly jealous of the attention he gave Corinna. To keep the peace, Woney had promised her that he would move Corinna here and “give her to another man”. The motel has a reputation in the area for drug activity and prostitution. In the last online advertisements placed using her phone number, Corinna’s locations were now listed as “Ozone Park, Queens, Woodhaven, Flushing, Astoria", all nearby locations to the Haven Motel. The room she had been moved to was reserved by and paid for by a man other than Woney. According to police, someone reported seeing Corinna leave the motel early in the morning. Authorities believe Woney was with Corinna at the motel that morning, along with the man who reserved her room. There have been no confirmed sightings of Corinna since that day.
Where the case stands today.
In November of 2017, Sabina took Corinna’s case to the media, where the striking teen’s story was covered extensively by the New York press as well as in the national media online. After it went viral on Tik-Tok a multitude of tips came in, but they led nowhere.
In the fall of 2018, Ishi Woney - the man thought to be one of the last people to be with Corinna - was arrested on federal charges for sex trafficking Corinna and Victim-1, and for violating the Mann Act. Passed in 1910, this federal law criminalizes the transfer of "any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose." After his arrest, Woney posted a picture on Instagram of himself, Victim-1, and Corinna, to taunt authorities as well as Corinna’s family. This picture showed a nearly-unrecognizable Corinna with dark hair, dark brown eyes, and considerably slimmer than before. Though she looked significantly different, Sabina was positive it was her daughter. During the same timeframe, the non-profit group Phantom Rescue offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Corinna’s whereabouts and safe return. Earlier in the spring of that same year, Yhovanny Peguero had also been charged in connection with promoting prostitution.
In 2019, Woney pled guilty to 4 of the 5 charges against him and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in Indiana. The judge took pity on him because of his “extensive mental health issues” and gave him a lighter sentence than the charge could have carried, which was life. In her victim impact statement, Sabina begged Woney to tell her where Corinna was and if she was alive, and he responded with “I never passed her off to anybody. Is she dead or alive? I’m honestly not sure, but I pray she’s alive". In 2021 Peguero was again arrested for selling crack cocaine, and this time he was convicted and sentenced to 2 - 5 years at a correctional facility in New York on drug and prostitution charges.
Late in 2021, there was some activity showing on Corinna’s social media accounts, but no one is certain if it was generated by automated updates, someone in her family who had access, a hacked account, or by Corinna herself. While they acknowledge Corinna may no longer be alive, Corinna’s family - especially her mother Sabina - remain desperate for information regarding her whereabouts. But she admitted that it’s difficult to keep hope alive. Sabina said: “But I still shouldn’t give up,’’ she said. “Everybody tells me there’s a possibility she’s out there. That’s what I live off. I just pray to God, and I just keep trying to have faith.”
At the time of her disappearance, Corinna Slusser stood 5’7”, weighing approximately 140 lbs., with blonde hair and blue eyes, though her appearance may have been altered. Her ears are pierced, and she has a tattoo on her right hip, along with a distinctive tattoo of a large flower in black ink in the center of her chest, between her breasts. She is sometimes known by the first name “Carissa”.
Experts in the field of anti-sex trafficking theorize there is a chance that Corinna could still be under a trafficker’s control, likely in another state. Police sources indicated that while there was no concrete evidence of foul play, nothing was certain. Her name has nevertheless surfaced in vice investigations - creating optimism that she may still be alive - and her case remains open.