Authorities said Thursday that a 12-year-old girl who was held hostage for a week in a motor home with what ended up turning out to be the decaying, mutilated remnants of her mom and brother provided critical information that resulted in the arrest of the woman’s live-in boyfriend.
According to CBS, Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett described the girl, who chewed through constraints to break free from the house while the man was away, as “a hero for surviving the incident and coming forward with the information that she provided us in order to charge him.”
Authorities said in court papers that the girl was violently attacked and doused with alcohol to sustain her in a daze before fleeing after munching through the ties that held her to a bed.
José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was charged with kidnapping and numerous counts of capital murder in the deaths of the girl’s 29-year-old mother and her son, who was younger than 14, according to court records.
“They were boyfriend and girlfriend,” Abbett said of Pascual-Reyes and the girl’s mother. “They were actually living there all together.”
According to Abbett, the kidnapping charge alleges that the girl was taken hostage against her will, not that she was physically kidnapped from another location and brought to the residence.
Officials allege that the girl was kidnapped on July 24, around the time her mom and brother were brutally murdered, and that two dismembered bodies were discovered in the trailer home after the child managed to escape on Monday morning.
Abbett would not say whether the girl knew what happened to her mom and brother while she was still a captive, but the chopped-up remnants were discovered inside the house.
Pascual-Reyes was apprehended Monday evening while trying to work on a construction site in Auburn, which was more than 20 miles away from the trailer home. He is being detained without bond.