Facebook Twitter

12-year-old girl escapes captor by chewing through rope restraints

An unnamed 12-year-old girl from Alabama was found Monday morning, after she had escaped from her alleged kidnapper, José Paulino Pascual-Reyes

SHARE 12-year-old girl escapes captor by chewing through rope restraints
This booking photo released by the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department shows José Paulino Pascual-Reyes at the jail.

This booking photo released by the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department shows José Paulino Pascual-Reyes at the jail in Dadeville, Alabama, on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. The man is charged with kidnapping in the alleged abduction of a 12-year-old who was held captive for a week and capital murder in the deaths of two people found dead in the mobile home where she was kept, authorities said.

Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department via Associated Press

An Alabama man is being charged with first-degree kidnapping, capital murder and abuse of a corpse, after a 12-year-old girl he allegedly kidnapped escaped his home in Dadeville. Authorities who arrived to investigate found two decomposing bodies in the suspect’s home.

The Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department held a press conference Tuesday, stating that around 8:30 a.m. Monday, their office received a call from a driver near 3547 County Road 34 in Dadeville, Alabama. The motorist had spotted the unnamed 12-year-old girl walking alone along the rural Alabama roadway and immediately picked up the child.

First responders gave her medical treatment and removed her from the area. Sheriff Jimmy Abbett confirmed in the news conference that the girl was “doing well” following her escape.

With the aid of the U.S. Marshals Service, local authorities quickly located and arrested the suspect, who they identified as José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37. Abbett told reporters that the Tallapoosa County Sheriff Department’s forensics team was still working to identify the decomposing bodies found in the suspect’s home.

Investigators believe the kidnapping occurred on July 24 and the girl was kept in captivity in Pascual-Reyes’ mobile home. WRBL reported that court filings for the case describe the markings deputies observed on the girl’s wrists, indicating that she had been tied to bed posts for approximately a week. She was assaulted and kept in a drugged state with alcohol during that time. The girl had chewed through her restraints to escape, breaking her braces in the process.

“She’s safe now and we want to keep her that way,” Abbett said during the news conference. “We do not want to jeopardize the identity of our juvenile until we get other information from forensics sciences and will be limited giving that information.”

No further information on the girl’s identity, background or relationship with the suspect has been released, though it was noted that there were others residing in the mobile home at the time of the investigation. Authorities reported that Pascual-Reyes had been living at that residence since February of this year and although the girl had been held captive for a week, she had not been reported missing.

Chief Deputy Fred White said that it is likely the suspect will be charged with additional crimes.

“At this time, we’re looking at multiple accounts of capital murder, along with kidnapping in the first degree,” White said at the news conference. “Once we continue and finish our investigation, several more charges will follow.”

The FBI and Homeland Security are working in tandem with Alabama authorities for this investigation. With efforts by multiple agencies, Abbett said he expects more information will be available as soon as the end of the week.

“Hats off to (the investigators); they’ve been around the clock and we’re still processing the scene,” Abbett said. “We’re waiting on forensic sciences to come back with identification, so they’re working hastily on that as we speak.”