A 12-year-old kidnapping victim was hailed as a “hero” after her escape led authorities to an Alabama mobile home where at least two decomposing bodies were recovered.
The Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office first responded to the area of 3547 County Road 34 in Dadeville, Alabama, at approximately 8:30 a.m. to a 911 call from a driver who reported stopping to help a 12-year-old girl spotted wandering on the road. A man listed as living at the same address was later arrested in Auburn.
José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Auburn Police Department and was charged with kidnapping in the first degree, Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said at a press conference, where District Attorney Jeremy Duerr added that “multiple” additional capital murder charges were likely to come.
Abbett confirmed to Fox News Digital via email that Pascual-Reyes was additionally charged on Tuesday with three counts of capital murder and two counts of abuse of a corpse.
Pascual-Reyes remains held as of Wednesday morning at the Tallapoosa County Jail pending a bond hearing.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Abbett said overnight investigation at the mobile home led to the discovery of two decomposed bodies, and forensics was still working to make positive identifications. Abbett told reporters that investigators were working around the clock and still processing the scene.
“She is a hero,” Abbett said of the girl. “It’s horrendous to have a crime scene in this nature and also a 12-year-old juvenile to deal with. It’s a horrendous situation that we deal with today.”
Citing court documents, WSFA-TV reported that the girl is believed to have been tied to bed posts for nearly a week, was assaulted and was kept in a sedated state by being plied with alcohol. The affidavit says the girl is believed to have escaped by chewing through her restraints before she somehow slipped from the mobile home and made it to the roadway.
Abbett said the girl had not been reported missing, and the nature of the relationship between the victim and her accused kidnaper, if any, remains under investigation.
“We gave her medical attention,” Abbett said. “She is safe now, and so we want to keep her that way.”
Asked about Pascual-Reyes’ documentation status, Abbett said he could not yet confirm any details and that his office is working with the Department of Homeland Security on the matter.
“We’re working on that right now with Homeland Security,” the sheriff said.