A 12-year-old girl who was being held captive was found walking down a road in rural Alabama on Monday after she escaped from a nearby home, prompting authorities to discover two bodies hanging from where she was being held.
José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, of Dadeville, Ala., was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, three counts of murder and two counts of abuse of a corpse, the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.
It was unclear whether Mr. Pascual-Reyes had a lawyer.
Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said at a news conference that just before 8:30 a.m. Monday, a driver spotted the girl walking on the road near 3547 County Road 34 in Dadeville, Ala., and called 911.
Responding deputies treated the girl and began an investigation, the sheriff said. When they entered the house, they found two corpses, according to officials.
Court documents say the girl was tied to the bedposts for nearly a week before being attacked and believed to be under the influence of alcohol. according to WSFA, a television station in Montgomery. The girl managed to break free and escape by chewing on the restraints, the documents state.
Sheriff Abbett declined to provide details about when the girl may have been abducted, the relationship between her and Mr. Pascual-Reyes, or details about the two bodies, including their identities and cause of death.
Authorities said the girl, who had not been reported missing, was “doing well.”
“She’s a hero,” Sheriff Abett said. “She’s safe and we want her to stay that way.”
Sheriff Abbett said he believed Mr. Pascual-Reyes had lived in the home since February. He added that other people were inside the residence when officers arrived, but the sheriff did not provide further details.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security, along with numerous local agencies, are assisting in the investigation.