12-Year-Old Kidnapped Girl Escapes, Leads Alabama Police to Decomposing Bodies

Alabama kidnapping
José Paulino Pascual-Reyes was arrested on charges of first-degree kidnapping and capital murder, authorities said.Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Department

The 12-year-old girl was discovered walking on a road in rural Alabama, police said.

A 12-year-old kidnapped girl was able to chew through her restraints and eventually lead Alabama authorities to the mobile home of her abductor, where investigators found two decomposing bodies, police said.

José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was arrested in Auburn, about 25 miles from where the child was found wandering down a rural road, and charged Tuesday with first-degree kidnapping, three counts of capital murder and two counts of abusing a corpse, Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

“She’s a hero,” Abbett said. “She’s safe and we want to keep her that way.”

The child had been tied to bed posts for nearly a week and was drugged with alcohol and assaulted, according to court documents, WRBL-TV reported. The girl was able to escape by chewing through her bindings, breaking the braces on her teeth, the documents said.

She was discovered Monday morning, on County Road 34, by someone driving by who stopped and called 911, Tibbett said. She was taken to a hospital for medical treatment, he said, and over the following 24 hours investigators an arrest warrant was issued for Pascual-Reyes.

The suspect was arrested at his mobile home by U.S. Marshals, Tibbett said. There, authorities discovered two decomposing bodies, he said. There were other residents in the trailer, but Tibbett declined to say if they were part of the ongoing investigation.

"We're looking at multiple counts of capital murder, along with kidnapping in the first degree," Tallapoosa County District Attorney Jeremy Duerr said at the media briefing. "And of course, once we continue and finish our investigation, I feel certain that several more charges will follow."

The girl had not been reported missing, the sheriff said. He said he would not release details about the girl's family, or where she is now.

"This is horrendous to have a crime scene of this nature and also a 12-year-old juvenile to deal with this horrendous situation," Abbett said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security, along with numerous local agencies, are helping investigate.

The suspect is being held at the Tallapoosa County Jail, pending a bond hearing and has not entered a plea, Abbett said. 

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