Girl, 12 years old, detained with the naked remains of her mother and brother

A man has been arrested after a 12-year-old girl was held for a week in a mobile home with the remains of her mother and brother.

Authorities in the US state of Alabama said the girl provided the key information that led to the arrest of this woman’s live boyfriend.

Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said she is “a hero for surviving the incident and continuing with the information she provided us to charge him”.

Discovered by a passerby along a country road after she fled Monday, the child is now safe in the custody of state child welfare officials.

Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was charged with kidnapping and multiple counts of murder in the murders of the girl’s mother, Sandra Vazquez Ceja, 29, and her son, who court records show was younger. 14 years old (Jay Reeves / AP) (AP)

Authorities said in court documents that the girl was assaulted and doused with alcohol to keep herself from being stunned, the girl fled after pulling the ropes that bound her to the bed.

Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was charged with kidnapping and multiple counts of murder following the deaths of the girl’s mother, Sandra Vazquez Ceja, 29, and her son, who court records show young over 14 years old.

“They were boyfriends and girlfriends,” Mr. Abbett said of Mr. Pascual-Reyes and Mrs. Ceja. “They were actually living there together.”

The kidnapping charge alleges that the girl was taken hostage against her will, not that she was abducted from elsewhere and brought home, Mr. Abbett said.

The girl was arrested on July 24, around the time her mother and brother were killed, authorities allege, and police found two dismembered bodies in the mobile home after the child escaped.

Mr Abbett declined to comment on whether the girl knew the fate of her mother and brother while she was still a hostage, but chopped up remains were found in the home.

Mr. Pascual-Reyes was arrested Monday night while working at a construction site in Auburn, Alabama, more than 20 miles from the mobile home. He is being held without bond.

Defense attorney Mark Carlton said he and another attorney had just been appointed to represent Mr. Pascual-Reyes and declined to immediately comment, saying they had not met him.

Mr. Pascual-Reyes, from Mexico, was in the country illegally after being deported and returned without valid documentation, Mr. Abbett said.

The sheriff said it’s unclear when he last entered the United States, but the group has been living in the mobile home since February.

Ceja and the two children entered the United States from Mexico in 2017 and stayed after applying for asylum, but their request has yet to be decided by immigration officials, the sheriff said.

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Mike Fahey

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