Dadeville, Ala. — A 12-year-old girl held captive in a rural Alabama trailer escaped and was discovered walking along a road, sparking a search that led police to discover two decomposing bodies at the home where she had been held, authorities said Tuesday.
José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was jailed on one count of kidnapping, Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said at a news conference. District Attorney Jeremy Duerr said “multiple” additional manslaughter charges are possible.
A driver driving through a rural residential area spotted a child in the road Monday morning and stopped, authorities said.
The driver picked up the girl and called 911, prompting a search and search that led officers to find two decomposing bodies inside the residence where Pascual-Reyes lived and where the girl is believed to have been held, Abbett said. Other people lived at the residence, but no one else was there when police arrived, he said.
Detectives say the girl was tied to bed posts for more than a week and given alcohol to keep her drugged. CBS Columbus, Georgia affiliate WRBL-TV References. Investigators say she escaped by chewing out of her braces, destroying the braces on her teeth in the process.
Detectives believe the girl was kidnapped around July 24 and the suspect intended to hurt or sexually assault her, the station says.
The mobile home’s metal underlay was torn off, according to WRBL, and it appears that investigators have turned their attention to 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 the cause of death, and court records did not include the name of a defense attorney who could speak on behalf of 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 got her medical attention,” Abbett said. “She’s safe now, and so we want to keep her that way.”
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security were also involved in the investigation, WRBL reports.