By: Michael Martin
EAST LANSING, Mich. (WXMI) — A man living in Lansing is staring down the possibility of life in prison, charged with luring young women to his home under the guise of an ‘au pair’ job with his family.
According to investigators, there was no family needing an au pair— just a man looking to sexually assault women earnestly looking for a job.
What is an au pair? According to aupair.com, it is “a young person (female or male) between 17 and 30 years old who stays with a local Host Family, learns their language and culture in exchange for accommodation and pocket money.”
FIRST CONTACT WITH POLICE
Police in East Lansing became aware of 31-year-old Arisknight Arkin-Everett Winfree back on September 16, 2022, when they received a call from a distraught woman in Kansas.
The woman wanted a welfare check done on a home on Highland Avenue where she believed her 18-year-old sister, referred to as ‘A.S.’ in federal court documents, was at for a new job.
When officers arrived at the home, Winfree apparently answered the door wearing a white robe. They also noted cameras throughout the home, and windows covered up with paper.
Officers stayed on scene while ‘A.S.’ was able to safely leave Winfree’s home with her belongings.
CREATING A FAKE IDENTITY & FAKE FAMILY
According to an FBI investigator, Winfree had connected with ‘A.S.’ via a website that connects families with childcare providers, asking her to watch his niece.
Allegedly, he called himself ‘Stryker’ and ‘Hunter Tiberius’ at different times online.
Inside Winfree’s home, ‘A.S.’ apparently saw no signs indicating a child might live there— instead, she says she observed approximately seven firearms, describing them to police as “machine guns.”
Winfree allegedly asked ‘A.S.’ if she was “good at giving massages and asked A.S. to rub his shoulders.”
A PATTERN EMERGING
On October 21, 2022, police in East Lansing were contacted by a woman named who alleged that Winfree had sexually assaulted an 18-year-old girl who was now in Italy, identified in court documents as ‘S.D.’.
Police began investigating what happened.
“Hi, we think you’d be a great fit. We live in USA East Lansing MI, are 1 hour and a half from the beaches, and often travel… Please let us know how much allowance you want per week for pay. We cover all your expenses when you come,” Winfree apparently wrote to ‘S.D.’ on September 5, 2022, as she was looking for a family in the United States to begin working with.
WARNING: Story details allegations of sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.
“My name is Stryker. We are looking to fill the position immediately.”
The girl would eventually arrive in Detroit on October 12, 2022, with Winfree picking her up and driving them back to his home in East Lansing.
The very next day, thousands of miles from home, ‘S.D’ says she was violently sexually assaulted.
“After some afternoon errands, I went to my room to take a shower. Stryker (Winfree) came in and asked to go down wearing my bathrobe only. I refused. He insisted firmly. I was afraid,” the Italian woman wrote in a statement.
“Unwillingly, I did what he asked for. I went to his bedroom. Here, he started touching my legs. I rejected his approach.”
She says Winfree handcuffed her hands behind her back and put a ball gag into her mouth.
“I was afraid and he ordered me to stay still and be quite [sic]. I felt I was dying,” she recalled.
At some point, she says she realized Winfree was taking photos or videos of what he was doing to her.
“He asked me whether I consented to him touching me and whether I liked that. I was afraid and said yes,” she wrote.
“He pulled my hair and forced me to consent to what he was doing. He asked me to repeat ‘I do like it’, ‘I do’, ‘yes’ several times while he was filming and taking pictures.”
Winfree then allegedly brought her into a different room with another camera.
“For the first time in my life, I prayed to God. He turned me on my back and asked me to have a full sexual intercourse,” she describes.
“After that, I asked him again I wanted to go back home (in Italy). He instructed me not to say anything to anyone.”
At this point, Winfree apparently claimed that he worked for the United States government.
She says that he left her tied up in that room until 2 a.m. the next morning, when Winfree apparently decided to drive her to the bus station in East Lansing, sending her on a trip back towards the airport in Detroit.
By October 15, ‘S.D’ was home in Italy, and checked into a hospital to receive treatment for injuries she sustained in the alleged assault.
THE F.B.I. GETS INVOLVED
Agents with the bureau eventually interviewed ‘S.D.’ on January 10, 2023, about what happened to her.
She told them that Winfree had claimed she would be watching his niece— someone who seemingly never existed.
Winfree also apparently stole all of ‘S.D.’s money and her cell phone’s SIM card before leaving her at the bus station.
A CHILD IN EAST LANSING
Charging documents filed in federal court also reference a case Winfree was part of in November 2022.
He was allegedly having social media conversations with a 17-year-old high school student in the area, which lead to them meeting up at his home.
Winfree and the underage girl allegedly had sex.
Investigators would later find nude photos of the girl on his phone— in court documents, they say these constitute possession of child pornography.
Investigators began pulling online records of Winfree’s activities and searching his devices.
When the FBI executed a search warrant at his home on Highland they found a significant cache of illegal items.
They seized ten firearms, 79.44 grams of “suspected cocaine”, various “sex toys”, and ball gags.
They also found videos on Winfree’s surveillance camera system allegedly showing him sexually assaulting ‘S.D.’.
Investigators say they also found text messages between Winfree and an adult male friend, talking about “finding more au pairs” and Winfree’s sexual assault of the 17-year-old high school student.
One of the messages allegedly read, “we need her to bring us other hs girls. That aren’t fat lol.”
Agents also located sexually explicit text conversations between Winfree and another person, believed to be a minor.
LOOKING AT LIFE IN PRISON
Winfree is being charged federally with kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a child.
If convicted on the charges, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
Winfree is expected in Grand Rapids federal court Thursday afternoon for a detention hearing.
If you or someone you know is being sexually abused, help is available: National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
This story was originally published Jan. 26 by WXMI in West Michigan, an E.W. Scripps Company.