Dadeville, Ala. – A 12-year-old girl held captive in a rural Alabama mobile home escaped and was found walking along the road, prompting an investigation that led police to find two decomposing bodies in the home where she was being held, the authorities on Tuesday.
José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was jailed for kidnapping, Tampaloosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said at a news conference. District Attorney Jeremy Duerr said “multiple” additional capital murder charges are likely.
A driver driving through a rural residential area saw a child in the road Monday morning and stopped, authorities said.
The driver picked up the girl and called 911, prompting an investigation and search that prompted police officers to find two decomposed bodies inside the residence where Pascual-Reyes lived and the girl is believed to have been held, Abbett said. There were other people living at the residence, but no one else was there when police arrived, he said.
Detectives say the girl was tied to bedposts for more than a week and given alcohol to keep her drugged, CBS Columbus, Georgia affiliate WRBL-TV reports. Investigators say she escaped by chewing out of her restraints, damaging the braces on her teeth in the process.
Detectives believe the girl was abducted around July 24 and that the suspect intended to injure or sexually abuse her, the station says.
The mobile home’s metal foundation was ripped away, according to WRBL, and investigators were apparently focusing on the ground beneath the mobile home.
The man was arrested in Auburn, Abbett said. It was unclear what information the girl might have given authorities, but Abbett called her a hero.
Police did not immediately release the names of the dead or a cause of death, and court records did not include the name of a defense attorney who could speak for Pascual-Reyes.
Authorities have not released any information about the girl, including whether she was related to the suspect. She had not been reported missing, the sheriff said.
“We gave her medical attention,” Abbett said. “She’s safe now, so we want to keep her that way.”
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security were also involved in the investigation, WRBL reports.