Ex-Ohio police detective admits to kidnapping sex workers while working undercover

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former Ohio vice detective pleaded guilty to federal accusations Thursday that he kidnapped sex worker victims under the guise of an arrest, according to federal prosecutors.

Andrew Mitchell, 59, of Sunbury, pleaded guilty to two counts of depriving individuals of their civil rights while acting under color of law and one count of obstructing justice, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

Mitchell spent more than 30 years with the Columbus Division of Police and was assigned to the vice union for the final two years of his employment, which ended in 2019, prosecutors said.

While working as a detective in July 2017, Mitchell wore plain clothes and drove an unmarked car when he handcuffed a sex worker to his vehicle, then drove to a parking lot and detained the woman against her will after identifying himself as an officer, prosecutors said.

Two months later, while again working as a plainclothes detective, he questioned a sex worker about rates before he said he was an officer and then kidnapped her, prosecutors said.

Mitchell was acquitted earlier this year of murder and manslaughter charges stemming from the death of a woman he shot while he was working undercover.

He was indicted after shooting and killing Donna Castleberry, 23, as she sat in his unmarked police vehicle in August 2018.

He said he acted in self-defense after she stabbed him in the hand during an undercover prostitution investigation. The jury in that trial reached its verdict after deliberating for about five hours.