Marine In Custody After Missing Underage Girl Found In Camp Pendleton Barracks

A marine in handcuffs taken for questioning by military police in connection with a child sex trafficking allegation on Camp Pendleton, San Diego, California, on June 28, 2023. [Screenshot/NBC 7 San Diego]

John Oyewale Contributor
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An officer in the U.S. Marine Corps was taken into custody June 28 in San Diego in connection with allegations of sex trafficking involving a minor, a local NBC News outlet reported Friday.

The minor, a 14-year-old girl with learning disabilities, had been reported missing since June 9 from her grandmother’s Spring Valley area home, the NBC 7 San Diego news report said. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Office (SDSO) was reportedly involved in recovering the juvenile, who was found inside the barracks at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The girl reportedly had run away from home in the past but returned home quickly.

Captain Chuck Palmer of Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Logistics Group reportedly verified a photograph which appeared on social media July 2 showing a handcuffed Marine being escorted by military police on base and “taken into custody for questioning by Naval Criminal Investigative Services [NCIS],” according to the news report. (RELATED: Reports Of Sexual Assault In The Military Continue To Rise, Pentagon Survey Finds)

A lady identified as the minor’s aunt, Casaundra Perez, released a TikTok video referenced in the news report in which she alleged the minor, her niece, “had been sold to a soldier for sex.” She also claimed “security looked her in the face and allowed this man to bring a minor on to base” and that her family had been “told by the affiliated personnel that the military detective assigned to the case is trying to cover this up.” She further alleged “[o]ur family is worried about retaliation from the military and the man that has trafficked my niece” and that “[s]ome of my family are scared but I’m not.” She called “for the pursuit of justice.”

The NCIS is investigating the matter, with support from the SDSO and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, according to the news report. NCIS spokesperson Jeff Houston said, “Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS does not comment on, confirm details relating to, or confirm the existence of ongoing investigations,” according to the report.

In a separate case investigated by the NCIS, 33-year-old Matthew Boyd, a former Portsmouth Naval Shipyard sailor, was sentenced in October 2022 to five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release, having pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a female minor, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.