The escape of a kidnapped girl in Alabama led to the discovery of two decomposing bodies and the arrest of a man facing murder and kidnapping charges, authorities said.
Police received a call Monday morning from a driver about a 12-year-old girl walking alone along County Road 34 in Dadeville, Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said Tuesday during a a press conference.
The girl had been tied to bed posts for about a week, according to a criminal complaint. She had eaten away at her restraints — breaking her suspenders — and her wrists showed marks consistent with restraint, he says.
The 12-year-old had been given alcohol to keep him “in a drugged state” and was assaulted in the “head area”, the complaint states. She had not been reported missing, the sheriff said.
Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was arrested about 40 miles away in Auburn on Monday on suspicion of first-degree kidnapping by U.S. marshals and police, the sheriff said, adding that other agencies are also on the lookout. ‘affair.
While searching Pascual-Reyes’ home, detectives found two decomposed bodies, the sheriff said. A forensic team is working to identify the corpses, he said, and how and when they died was not immediately known. The sheriff further stated that “other people” lived in the residence. The sheriff did not say whether these people were charged or detained in connection with the alleged crimes at the residence.
Pascual-Reyes also faces three counts of capital murder and two counts of abuse of a corpse, Abbett said in a press release.
“We are looking at multiple counts of capital murder, as well as first-degree kidnapping,” Tallapoosa County District Attorney Jeremy Duerr said at the press conference. “And of course, once we have continued and completed our investigation, I am sure that several more charges will follow.”
Pascual-Reyes had a bail hearing from Tallapoosa County Jail on Wednesday afternoon and is being held without bond, according to Abbett, who said he was appointed as an attorney. CNN has contacted the Public Defender’s Office for comment.
“It’s horrible to have a crime scene of this nature and also a 12-year-old to deal with this horrible situation,” Abbett said, calling the youngster a “hero”.
Although the sheriff gave no details about when the girl might have been kidnapped or a possible relationship with Pascual-Reyes, he said she had received medical attention and was doing well.
“She’s safe now and…we want to keep her that way,” Abbett said.
The child, who has been appointed as an attorney, is now with the Alabama Department of Human Resources, according to the sheriff, who said he checked on the girl on Wednesday.
“She’s doing as well as one would expect given the circumstances,” Abbett said.