A 12-year-old girl who escaped from her captor and was found walking along an Alabama road on Monday morning successfully led police to discover two decomposing bodies in a rural residence, officials said.
The unnamed girl is believed to have been kidnapped by Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett told a news conference on Tuesday.
Pascual-Reyes was arrested on a kidnapping charge, though District Attorney Jeremy Duerr said “multiple” additional charges are expected, including capital murder.
Abbett called the 12-year-old girl “a hero.”
The girl was discovered by a passing motorist in Dadeville, Ala., around 8:30 a.m., court records claim. The motorist called 911 and the girl received medical attention when authorities arrived.
She led police to a mobile home south of Dadeville in a rural area, where police later found the two decomposing bodies. Other people lived in the mobile home where the girl is believed to have been kept, but no one was there when police arrived, Abbett said at the news conference.
Court documents allege the girl had been tied to bed posts inside the residence for over a week. Police claim the 12-year-old had been drugged with alcohol.
According to police, the girl was able to free herself by chewing out of her restraints and exiting the mobile home. Court documents claim she damaged her braces in the process. Police believe the girl was likely abducted around July 24. They suspect Pascual-Reyes intended to cause physical or sexual harm.
It is unclear if there is a connection between the girl, Pascual-Reyes and the two deceased persons, as police have yet to release this information. The girl was not a missing person.
The identities and cause of death of the two decomposing bodies have yet to be released. Abbett said the 12-year-old girl is “doing well.”
“We gave her medical attention,” he said during the conference. “She is safe now, and so we want to keep her that way.”
The investigation is ongoing in collaboration with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
Pascual-Reyes is currently being jailed in Tallapoosa County without bond.