(WFLA/NBC News Channel) — Authorities in Alabama called a 12-year-old girl a hero after she escaped her kidnapper and helped expose a suspected murderer on Monday.
According to NBC affiliate WSFA, the child was tied up and drugged with alcohol in the home of 37-year-old Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes for about one week.
An affidavit said the girl was assaulted and tied to a bed until she chewed her way out of the restraints, breaking her braces in the process.
Once she was free, a driver noticed the girl wandering down a County Road 34 south of Dadeville, Alabama. Tallapoosa County deputies were called to the area and took her to get medical treatment.
“I would say she’s a hero, and it’s one of those things that we don’t want to get into until later,” Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said. “We gave her medical attention, and she is safe now, and so we want to keep her that way.”
Deputies later searched Pascual-Reyes’ home during their investigation and discovered two decomposed bodies. It is not known how long the bodies were in the suspect’s home.
“As always, it’s horrendous to have a crime scene of this nature, and also a 12-year-old juvenile to deal with it,” Abbett said. “It’s a horrendous situation, you know, that we deal with every day.”
The bodies were taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for autopsy and identification.
Pascual-Reyes was arrested in Auburn, Alabama, and charged with multiple counts of capital murder and first-degree kidnapping. More charges are pending.