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August 09, 2022
At around 8:26am on the morning of August 01, 2022, a young girl was spotted walking alone along a roadway in a rural area just southeast of Dadeville, Alabama. It’s unusual to see anyone walking alone in the sparsely populated area, which is primarily used as a through-road to a manmade lake in the area popular with tourists.
A motorist passing through the 3547 Country Road 34 area near her home was immediately concerned when they noticed the child walking alone in such an isolated area, where houses are few and far between. The local pulled over to check on the child who relayed to her a terrifying ordeal.
The motorist swiftly reported the situation to 911 and stayed with the juvenile until authorities arrived. Tallapoosa County Sheriff's office and deputies quickly responded to the scene and when questioned about why she was alone in rural Dadeville, the girl’s response shocked officers.
The twelve year old described how she had been drugged and intoxicated, held against her will and tied to bedposts in a mobile home by an older man. Reports state that she had been kept tied down to a bed for several days.
The girl displayed abrasions to her wrists consistent with being bound, and according to reports, had injuries to her head indicating that she had been physically beaten. She estimated that she had been kept in the home for approximately one week and had escaped after her captor left the residence to go to work.
When asked how she managed to escape captivity, the girl explained that she had chewed through her restraints, breaking the braces off her teeth in the process. The girl was still within proximity of the home when she was found by the passer-by.
Local and national investigation agencies joined forces to investigate the case and track down the suspect. Within 24 hours they had a name: Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes.
Using the information provided to them by the victim, police were able to obtain a kidnapping warrant. Then, arrest warrant in hand, they tracked Jose Pascual-Reyes down twenty miles away in Auburn, Alabama, where he was working on a construction site, and arrested him for first-degree kidnapping.
When investigators searched the property where Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes had been staying for the past several months, they made a shocking discovery- the decomposing bodies of the girl’s mother, Sandra Vazquez Ceja, 29, as well as her brother, who remains unnamed in the media but is described as being under fourteen years of age.
Pascual-Reyes had murdered the girl’s immediate family and she was not reported as a missing person. It is unclear what the fate of the child would have been had she not been able to chew through her restraints and escape her captor.
Police estimated that Sandra Vazquez Ceja and her son were killed around July 24, 2022. They also revealed that Ceja and Pascual-Reyes were a couple and had lived in the mobile home together with the children for around five months before Pascual-Reyes, for reasons currently unknow, murdered Ceja and her son.
WRBL reports that the arrest warrant details Jose Reyes smothered Ceja to death and bludgeoned her son repeatedly with his hands and feet until the child died. He then dismembered their bodies in an attempt to conceal the evidence of his horrific crimes.
Not much is known of Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes, other than his age, 37, and his job in construction. Investigators are working to determine more about the man, so far, investigation has revealed that Reyes was in the United States illegally after he had been deported and it is unclear when exactly he entered the country. Ceja, along with her son and daughter, came to the United States in 2017 where they requested asylum and were waiting on a decision. Both Pascaul-Reyes, Ceja and her child moved into the home in February of this year.
The twelve-year-old victim was given medical attention and is currently in the care of the Alabama Department of Human Resources. According to Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett, the girl is doing well, and he considers her a hero for escaping the suspect, leading police to the bodies, and assisting in the arrest and detainment of the suspected killer.
Abbett said: “This is horrendous to have a crime scene of this nature and also a twelve-year-old juvenile to deal with this horrendous situation. She's doing as well as can be expected considering the circumstances."
It has been reported that other individuals were residing in the mobile home, however, none were present at the residence when police arrived, and no one has come forward with information at the time of writing.
Pascual-Reyes has been charged with several counts of capital murder, abuse of a corpse, and first degree kidnapping. The kidnapping charges do not pertain to the suspect snatching the girl off the streets, rather, keeping her against her will at the property.
He is currently being detained at Tallapoosa County Detention Center and is scheduled to appear in court on August 30, 2022.
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