Girl, 12, Escapes Captivity, Leading Alabama Authorities to Find 2 Bodies


A 12-year-old girl who had been held captive in a home in rural Alabama was found walking along a nearby road on Monday, which led the authorities to the bodies of her mother and brother inside the residence, the authorities said.

The Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department said on Tuesday that José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, of Dadeville, Ala., had been arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, capital murder and abuse of corpse.

On Wednesday, Mr. Pascual-Reyes made an initial appearance in court and was ordered held without bond. It was unclear who represented him.

Jimmy Abbett, the Tallapoosa County sheriff, said at a news conference on Tuesday that just before 8:30 a.m. on Monday, a driver noticed a girl walking along a road in Dadeville, Ala., and called 911.

Credit…Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department

Deputies who responded gave the girl medical treatment and started investigating, the sheriff said. Once they entered the house, officials said, they found two decomposing bodies, identified by Sheriff Abbett as the girl’s mother and brother.

Mr. Pascual-Reyes was the mother’s boyfriend, Sheriff Abbett said.

Court documents said the girl had been abducted on July 24 and tied to bed posts for about a week while she was assaulted and given alcohol to keep her in a drugged state.

The girl managed to get free and escape by chewing through her restraints, breaking her braces in the process, the documents said. Deputies who found her noticed she had marks on her wrists where she had been restrained.

Court records said the mother had been smothered to death with a pillow on July 24, and the brother had been bludgeoned to death on the same day. He was under 14, Sheriff Abbett said. Both bodies had been dismembered, he said.

The authorities said the girl who escaped had not been reported missing. Sheriff Abbett said she was in state custody and was “doing well.”

“She’s a hero,” he said. “She’s safe and we want to keep her that way.”

Sheriff Abbett said that Mr. Pascual-Reyes had worked at a construction site in Auburn, Ala., about 25 miles southeast of Dadeville, and had been living at the home since February.

Before Mr. Pascual-Reyes made his initial appearance in court on Wednesday, Kevin Hall, an assistant district attorney, said that prosecutors had planned to object to releasing him on bond because of the severity of the charges and because they considered him to be a flight risk.

The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security, along with local agencies, are helping to investigate.

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