A 12-year-old girl is being hailed as a hero and used her ingenuity to escape what could have been certain death.
Authorities have not yet released the name of the girl who was kidnapped but escaped by chewing through her restraints after being held in captivity for a week in a rural mobile home in central Alabama.
When police arrived on the scene of the mobile home, they found two dead bodies inside.
The man accused of first-degree kidnapping and the murder of the people in the home is José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, according to an interview with Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett.
At this point, there is no known defense attorney on record at this point to speak on behalf of the defendant, who is 37. Additional charges are also pending for Pascual-Reyes.
“Forensics is doing their part today and we’re waiting on results from them,” he said.
The girl was abducted from an undisclosed location around July 24. She was restrained to bedposts for close to a week and was sexually abused, according to a complaint filed in court by the police.
She was kept in a drugged state with alcohol and also had an injury to her head before she chewed her way out of the restraints, according to the court document.
The girl was found on a road outside of the mobile home with her braces damaged from chewing and marks on her wrists from the restraints.
A driver picked up the girl and notified authorities. An investigation ensued and the search led the police officers to the decomposing bodies inside the mobile home where Pascual-Reyes lived.
Other people lived at the mobile home, but they were not there while the police investigated.
During the investigation, the police found that the underpinning of the mobile home was ripped off, according to CBS affiliate WRBL. It seems the police were focusing their effort along the ground under the mobile home.
The young girl received medical attention and was placed in the custody of child welfare officials, according to Abbett.
“She is safe now, and so we want to keep her that way,” Abbett said.
The county police in Alabama were also joined by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.
There has been a report by some officials who believe that the slain bodies in the mobile home were the girl’s mother and brother. They believe that the killer was the mother’s boyfriend.
Pascual-Reyes has been charged with kidnapping, two counts of murder, and two counts of corpse abuse, court records indicated.
He is accused of smothering Sandra Vazquez Ceja, 34, with a pillow and then allegedly cut her body into pieces so that the evidence could be hidden, according to the criminal complaint filed in court on Wednesday.
The second body was a boy who was under 14 years of age. His name is being withheld by authorities. He was allegedly killed by striking him with the killer’s hands and feet, according to the same complaint. His body was also cut into pieces to cover up the horrific crime.
Pascual-Reyes faced a judge on Wednesday for the first time and he was ordered to remain in jail without bail. No one has been able to reach a court-appointed defense attorney for comment.
Sheriff Abbett called the 12-year-old girl a “hero” and urged residents to keep their eyes peeled for someone who might be in need of help.
“We always say if you see something, say something and we’re very appreciative to the people who actually came (to the girl’s assistance),” Abbett told reporters Tuesday.