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Police have released new information about a 12-year-old girl who escaped her captor on Monday morning and was found walking on an Alabama street.
After she was discovered by a passing motorist who called 911, the girl took police to a mobile home where officers discovered two decomposed bodies on the property.
On Thursday, the Talaposa County Sheriff’s Office claimed that the bodies – which were brutally dismembered – belonged to the girl’s mother and brother. In court records for the case, officials wrote that the brother was younger than 14 years.
Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was arrested Monday night at a construction site where a mobile home was erected in a rural area south of Deadville, Ala., more than 30 kilometers away.
Pascual-Reyes was originally charged with kidnapping, but police have now added several counts of murder. According to police, Pascual-Reyes was the mother’s live-in boyfriend.
(Talaposa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett clarified that the kidnapping charge against Pascual-Reyes is not because he physically abducted the girl, but because she was held hostage against her will.)
Police believe the unidentified girl’s captivity began on July 24. Court documents allege that she was tied to a bed post inside the house for more than a week and was kept drunk. Authorities claim that Pascual-Reyes intended to cause physical or sexual harm.
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According to the police, the girl managed to free herself by chewing on her restraint and coming out of the mobile home. Court documents claim he damaged his braces in the process.
At a news conference on Thursday, Abbett did not specify whether the girl was aware that the bodies in the mobile home were her mother and brother.
At the time of this writing, legal representatives for Pascual-Reyes have declined to comment publicly.
Police also claim that Pascual-Reyes entered the US illegally from Mexico. He was in the country after being exiled, although Abbett said it was unclear when Pascual-Reyes re-entered.
Authorities allege that Pascual-Reyes, a 12-year-old girl, her mother and her brother had been living in the mobile home since February. The girl’s mother, 29-year-old Sandra Vazquez Seja, also came to the US from Mexico to seek asylum in 2017. Abbett said that his claim for status has not yet been approved by government officials.
The sheriff also claimed that although there were other residents living at the mobile home, there was no indication that they knew about the dead persons or the captive girl.
Abbett said the unnamed girl “is a hero for surviving the incident and coming forward with the information she provided us to charge.”
Police claim that the 12-year-old girl is now safe and is under the care of the state’s child welfare officers.