Authorities arrested a 37-year-old man Monday for allegedly kidnapping a 12-year-old girl who police are calling a “hero” after she escaped her kidnapper by chewing through restraints.
The girl was tied to bed posts in her kidnapper’s mobile home for more than a week, according to a criminal complaint, CNN reported. She was drugged with alcohol and physically abused, the outlet continued.
“Yesterday [at] about 8:26, our office received a call of a young juvenile female walking in the roadway,” Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said in a press conference Tuesday. (RELATED: Watch Police Fatally Shoot Kidnapping Suspect After He Runs Over Cop)
“During the initial investigation, from the information that we were receiving and collected, we were able to arrest Jose Paulino Pascal Reyes,” Sheriff Abbett continued.
“We have arrested the individual and he’s in our facility here,” Abbett told the Daily Caller. “He’s been charged with one count of kidnapping in the first degree, capital murder of two or more people, capital murder under the age of 14, capital murder kidnapping and two counts of abusing a corpse.”
Sherriff Abbett added the girl is safe and receiving care.
“She’s doing outstanding for a young lady of twelve,” Abbett said.
BREAKING UPDATE: Tuesday, the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office charged Jose Paulino Pascual Reyes, 37, with three counts of capital murder and two counts of abuse of a corpse, along with one count of first-degree kidnapping. https://t.co/1tkeYwwIeB
— WBRC FOX6 News (@WBRCnews) August 3, 2022
Police found two other decomposing bodies in the mobile home. The Department of Forensics Sciences is working to identify the bodies, Abbett said.
Abbett told the Daily Caller they “feel confident” that one of the victims is Sandra Ceja, and the other a juvenile male. Abbett said they have not received results on the individuals’ cause of death yet.
Tallapoosa County District Attorney Jeremy Duerr noted during Tuesday’s press conference that more charges are likely to be brought against Reyes. “And of course once we continue and finish our investigation I am certain that several more charges will follow,” he said.
“I would say that she’s a hero,” Sheriff Abbett said about the young girl.
Sheriff Abbett declined to say if he could locate any of the girl’s family members. The girl was not reported as a missing person, and the nature of the relationship between the kidnapper and the girl is still under investigation, Abbett added.