"She is a hero," said police, who added, "It's horrendous to have a crime scene of this nature."
A 12-year-old girl in Alabama is being hailed a “hero” after she reportedly escaped capture, prompting an investigation that led to one arrest and the gruesome discovery of two decomposed bodies.
On Monday morning, a motorist came across the young girl on the road in Dadeville and called authorities, who took her to get medical attention. According to a criminal complaint, the child had been tied to bed posts and kept in a drugged state with alcohol, before chewing through her restraints — breaking her braces in the process — and escaping. She had reportedly been assaulted in the “head area.”
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The investigation led to the arrest of 37-year-old Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes (pictured in mugshot at top) on Monday and the discovery of two decomposing bodies inside the mobile home where he lived. According to The Outlook, the bodies were found “sandwiched in the flood in bags.” Other people were also living in the residence when police arrived.
Pascual-Reyes was arrested on suspicion of first-degree kidnapping and also faces three counts of capital murder and two counts of abuse of corpse. “I feel certain that several more charges will follow,” added Tallapoosa County District Attorney Jeremy Duerr during a press conference on Tuesday.
“She is a hero,” Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said of the young victim at the same presser. “We gave her medical attention. She is safe now and so we want to keep her that way. That’s all I can actually say. She’s doing well.”
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“It’s horrendous to have a crime scene of this nature and also a 12-year-old juvenile to deal with it, it’s a horrendous situation,” he added.
Per Abbett, the girl was “not considered a missing person” and wouldn’t reveal whether authorities had located her family members. He also didn’t provide any details on if the girl had any possible relationship to Pascual-Reyes or the deceased — explaining, “We are not at the stage to release the relationship. We do not want to infringe on what is going on behind the scenes.”
Investigators believe the child was kidnapped around July 24.
The two bodies are with a forensics team, which is working to identify them.
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