By Jennifer Horton WSFA TV
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – The murder of Prattville resident Melissa Metcalf, 51, led Alabama investigators to the center of a Montgomery human trafficking ring.
Metcalf’s body was discovered in July 2018 in rural Macon County near the Tysonville Community. She’d been beaten to death.
The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation was called in to assist with the case. Five months later, SBI arrested Sergio Webb, 29, for the woman’s murder.
The investigation didn’t end with Webb’s arrest, though.
During Friday’s preliminary hearing in Montgomery District Court, SBI Lt. Shawn Loughridge revealed new details, saying the investigation found Webb had sold Metcalf and other woman for sex around the Montgomery area.
After Metcalf’s body was discovered, SBI reached out to the victim’s daughter, who confirmed Webb had sent a number of lewd text messages to her showing her mother involved in sex acts.
The SBI took the cell phone number from the texts and asked the FBI for help tracking the phone. The FBI’s analysis showed the phone pinged at a hotel near Monticello Drive in Montgomery and in the town of Rockford, located in Coosa County.
SBI learned that prior to Metcalf’s death she had been sold to a man to perform sex acts for multiple days. Webb’s mother confirmed she saw Metcalf with the man.
Loughridge testified that the second victim was at the hotel near Monticello Drive when Webb brought Metcalf in from her last job. Metcalf reportedly asked Webb for drugs repeatedly in exchange for her performing sex acts.
“Melissa kept asking for meth or heroin and Sergio continued to put her off,” Loughridge stated. “When she asked again, Sergio became angry and beat her to death.”
Loughridge stated that Webb beat Metcalf and used a lamp in the hotel room to smash in her head. After it was clear she was dead, Webb ordered the other victim to help him clean up the room. She agreed because she was afraid for her life.
According to the investigator, Webb and the other victim cleaned up the blood, rolled Metcalf’s body in a sheet and packed evidence of the murder into Webb’s car, then drove to Tysonville to dump Metcalf’s body.
Afterward, the two drove to Rockford where they burned the bloodied bedsheets and the lamp. This information finally revealed to investigators why Webb’s phone pinged in Rockford in early July.
While the shockingly detailed eyewitness statements came five months after Metcalf’s death, investigators were still able to use that information to shore up additional evidence that would lead to Webb’s arrest.
SBI obtained a search warrant for the hotel room where Metcalf was allegedly murdered and conducted luminol tests which revealed a significant amount of blood had been spread across the room.
The clerk at the hotel confirmed Webb rented the room and produced a sales receipt with his signature. Hotel workers also confirmed they saw Metcalf the night of the murder.
Investigators also traveled to Rockford where they recovered what was left of the lamp and the burned evidence. The lamp matched the other lamps in the hotel.
DNA samples from the evidence and the hotel room also matched Metcalf.
According to Loughridge, the forensic examiner confirmed Metcalf died of blunt force trauma and said it was the worst beating he’d ever seen. All of Metcalf’s ribs were broken and several of her organs were ruptured.
The second victim who brought the case together for agents is now located outside the state. Loughridge testified that during her interview he noticed she had serious injuries to her feet.
“I saw her toes were broken and she said that ‘Sergio hobbled me so I could never get away from him’,” he stated.
SBI arrested Webb on Dec. 12 in Montgomery.
District Judge Tiffany McCord bound the cause over for grand jury consideration. Additional charges are expected in this case to account for additional victims.
Currently, it’s unclear how many women were in Webb’s human trafficking ring or whether he was operating alone.
Webb was out on bond on an unrelated drug indictment at the time of his arrest. His bond has been revoked in that case.
If you have any information on the murder of Melissa Metcalf or instances of human trafficking, please call the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation at 334-242-1142.