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Homeworld newsGirl, 12, Escapes Captivity, Leading Alabama Authorities to Find 2 Bodies

Girl, 12, Escapes Captivity, Leading Alabama Authorities to Find 2 Bodies

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A 12-year-old girl who had been held captive was found walking along a road in rural Alabama on Monday after she escaped from a nearby home, which led the authorities to the grisly discovery of two decomposing bodies where she had been held.

The Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department said on Tuesday that José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, of Dadeville, Ala., had been arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, three counts of capital murder and two counts of abuse of corpse.

It was unclear if Mr. Pascual-Reyes had a lawyer.

Jimmy Abbett, the Tallapoosa County sheriff, said at a news conference that just before 8:30 a.m. on Monday, a driver noticed a girl walking along a road near 3547 County Road 34 in Dadeville, Ala., and called 911.

Deputies who responded gave the girl medical treatment and started investigating, the sheriff said. Once they entered the house, officials said, they found two decomposing bodies.

Court documents said the girl had been tied to bed posts for about a week while she was assaulted and given alcohol to keep her in a drugged state. The girl managed to get free and escape by chewing through her restraints, breaking her braces in the process, the documents said. Deputies who found her noticed she had marks on her wrists where she had been restrained.

Sheriff Abbett declined to provide details about when the girl might have been kidnapped, although court records indicate that it was around July 24. He also declined to describe what relationship, if any, she had with Mr. Pascual-Reyes.

“It was not a random abduction,” Kevin Hall, an assistant district attorney for Tallapoosa County, said in an interview on Wednesday. “As far as the nature of the relationship, I don’t think I can get into that yet.”

Sheriff Abbett declined to identify the victims whose bodies were found in the home. Court records indicate that one was a woman who had been smothered to death with a pillow. Mr. Hall said she was in her 30s. The other had been bludgeoned to death and then cut up into small pieces, court records state. That victim was a “juvenile,” Mr. Hall said.

The authorities said the girl who escaped had not been reported missing. Sheriff Abbett said she was in state custody and was “doing well.”

“She’s a hero,” he said. “She’s safe and we want to keep her that way.”

Sheriff Abbett said that Mr. Pascual-Reyes had worked at a construction site in Auburn, Ala., about 25 miles southeast of Dadeville, and had been living at the home since February. He added that other people were at the residence when the authorities arrived but didn’t provide further detail.

Mr. Pascual-Reyes was expected to make an initial appearance in court on Wednesday afternoon, and Mr. Hall said that prosecutors would object to releasing him on bond because of the severity of the charges and because they considered him to be a flight risk. Mr. Pascual-Reyes was born in Mexico, Mr. Hall said.

The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security, along with local agencies, are helping to investigate.

Michael Levenson contributed reporting.

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