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How a young kidnapped girl's escape led to discovery of two decomposing dead bodies in Alabama home

A 12-year-old girl walking alone on an Alabama highway prompted an abduction investigation that led officials to the discovery of two dead corpses
José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, is facing kidnapping charges and multiple counts of capital murder after two dead bodies were found at his home (Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office)
José Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, is facing kidnapping charges and multiple counts of capital murder after two dead bodies were found at his home (Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office)

DADEVILLE, ALABAMA: In a horrific incident, a 12-year-old girl was found walking alone along a roadside in Dadeville on early Monday, August 1, 2022, after escaping from the Alabama home where she was held hostage. The girl informed that she was kidnapped and kept inside the suspect's mobile home along CR 34 in Dadeville for over a week. This has also led to the discovery of two decomposing corpses at the same home and a shocking revelation. As per the arrest warrant, the abducted girl was the suspect's girlfriend's daughter and the bodies were of the suspect's girlfriend and her 14-year-old son. 

Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said the investigation began shortly before 8.30 am Monday, August 1, 2022, when a passerby noticed the girl walking near 3547 County Road 34 in Dadeville, Alabama​. The motorist picked up the child, and immediately called 911. Abbett told the reporters at a news conference that a team of state, local, and federal investigators worked over the next 24 hours to arrest a suspect, reported. 


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The arrested suspect was identified on Tuesday, August 2, as Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes. Pascual-Reyes was arrested in Auburn and remains in the Tallapoosa County jail awaiting a federal trial. The bodies were discovered inside his mobile home along CR 34 in Dadeville where the girl was abducted. The 37-year-old man has been charged with first-degree kidnapping, three counts of capital murder, and two counts of abuse of a corpse.

According to arrest warrants obtained by WRBL on Wednesday, investigators believe Reyes intentionally killed his girlfriend, Sandra Vazquez Ceja, on July 24 by smothering her with a pillow. Reyes is also accused of killing Ceja's under-14-year-old son by striking him with his hands and feet. The full name of the boy has not been revealed. Reyes is also facing two counts of Corpse Abuse. Investigators believe Reyes dismembered his girlfriend and her young son by cutting the bodies up into small pieces at the joints to conceal evidence, according to the arrest warrants.

The remains have been sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for identification. Abbett said he couldn't reveal any more details about the bodies, that is for how long the bodies had been there or the ongoing investigation. "It’s a fluid investigation," the sheriff said, adding, “Things are changing, and I don’t want to jeopardize the identification of our juvenile.”

Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett speaking with the reporters during the live news conference on Tuesday, August 3 (video screenshot/12 WSFA)
Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett speaks with the reporters during the news conference on Tuesday, August 3, 2022 (video screenshot/12 WSFA)

According to court documents the girl had been bonded to bedposts for nearly a week and was assaulted and doused with alcohol before she escaped by chewing through her restraints. Deputies noticed marks on the victim's wrist that indicated he had been restrained. According to detectives, the braces on her teeth were broken while she was chewing her way through the restraints, WRBL reported. 

"I would say she’s a hero," Abbett said, adding, “It’s one of those things we won’t get into until later.” “We gave her medical attention,’’ he added. “She is safe now. We want to keep her that way.” The sheriff said investigators have worked “tirelessly” over the past 24 hours. As of Tuesday, August 3 afternoon, law enforcement officers were still on the scene at Pascual-Reyes' home, searching for additional evidence.

According to Tallapoosa County District Attorney Jeremy Duerr, Pascual-Reyes is charged with multiple counts of capital murder in connection with the bodies discovered in his home. Pascual-Reyes appears to have lived at the mobile home since February, according to Abbett.

When law enforcement officers arrived at the house, there were other people present, but the sheriff refused to elaborate. “It’s horrendous to have a crime scene of this nature,’’ he said.