Paul Chiles, also known as Tommy Gunz, was indicted on 19 counts involving human trafficking, drug trafficking and involuntary manslaughter. Mother of the woman victim who died is glad that Chiles has been charged.
When Angelina Riegel got the news that justice was coming and that someone might finally be held accountable for the control they had over her daughter, she almost couldn’t believe it.
She had hoped for so many months — ever since Cecilia Riegel’s body was discovered on the Southeast Side on April 11 a couple of days after she had died — that someone would be held responsible.
“When they told me my daughter was gone, I knew she didn’t do it to herself,” said Riegel, who lives in the Linden area. “My daughter tried for months to get clean and sober and every time she would get drug back out into the nightmare of the streets.”
The Franklin County Prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that Paul Nelson Chiles, 36, who was also known as Tommy Gunz, was indicted by the grand jury on 19 charges involving human trafficking, drug trafficking and involuntary manslaughter.
The involuntary manslaughter charge accuses Chiles of providing 21-year-old Cecilia Riegel with a fatal dose of fentanyl and methamphetamine on April 9. The coroner’s office ruled the drug mixture caused her death.
Five women worked for Chiles and were required by him to post ads on sex/escort websites to attract clients, the prosecutor’s office said. The activity occurred between Jan. 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020.
“The defendant primarily targeted and recruited females to work for him that were vulnerable and homeless and he controlled women through threats, physical abuse and by keeping them drug dependent,” Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said.
O’Brien and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost credited the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force for its investigative work that led to Chiles’ indictment.
Angelina Riegel said addiction first claimed its grip on her daughter when Cecilia was still in high school, but it was over the past three years of so that opioids completely took her over. She said it was only late last year when her daughter finally confided to a relative the horrors of being trafficked and what she said this man called “Tommy Gunz” had been doing to her.
Even now, Angelina Riegel can’t wrap her head around it all.
“I can’t even imagine the hell that she went through,” she said. “I can’t.”
She is raising her 3-year-old grandson now and hoping that, with Chiles behind bars, other women will feel safe coming forward.
“Every time she went to rehab for help, it seemed like nobody protected her,” Riegel said of her daughter. “But girls are safer now because there is one less predator out there preying on them.”