The escape of a 12-year-old girl from a Dadeville, Alabama, home led to the arrest of a 37-year-old man charged with kidnapping and murder.
The girl was seen walking alone along County Road 34, south of Dadeville, by a motorist at around 8:30 a.m. Monday, WSFA-TV reported.
The motorist called 911 immediately after noticing the unaccompanied minor, after which deputies from the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene, according to the news station.
First responders took the girl from the area to get her medical help, according to WSFA.
Over the following 24 hours, state, local and federal investigators began to investigate suspect Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes, AL.com reported.
When police raided Pascual-Reyes’ Dadeville home, they found two decomposing corpses inside.
Authorities could not immediately determine how long the bodies were rotting inside, Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said, according to WSFA.
The remains were sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, where autopsies and identification would be carried out.
Court documents accessed by WSFA said that the suspect tied the girl to a bed post for about a week, assaulting her and leaving her drugged through alcohol.
The girl managed to escape, court documents said, by chewing through the restraints the suspect used to bind her hands.
“It’s a fluid investigation,’’ Abbett said, according to AL.com. “Things are changing, and I don’t want to jeopardize the identification of our juvenile.”
“I would say she’s a hero,’’ the sheriff said of the girl. “It’s one of those things we won’t get into until later.”
“She is safe now. We want to keep her that way,” he added.
Pascual-Reyes was charged with first-degree kidnapping for the unlawful detention of the pre-teen girl. He also received multiple counts of capital murder and two counts of corpse abuse charges for the decomposing bodies found at his home.
Pascual-Reyes remains in custody pending a bond hearing at Tallapoosa County.
“It’s horrendous to have a crime scene of this nature,” the sheriff said.
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