A teenage girl who allegedly has learning disabilities has been found in the barracks of a military base in California and a Marine is reportedly in custody.
The 14-year-old girl, who has not been publicly identified, was found at Camp Pendleton on June 28, some 15 days after she was reported missing by her grandmother, a spokesperson for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department told Law&Crime in an email.
“The grandmother told the deputy her granddaughter ran away from home on Friday, June 9,” San Diego Sheriff’s Department media relations director David LaDieu said in the email. “The grandmother says the granddaughter had previously run away before, but always returned home quickly.”
Video posted to Instagram by an account that purportedly posts content from military personnel appears to show a man being led in handcuffs to a police car.
“A Marine with clb 5 got arrested for having s3x with a minor in the barracks,” the post says, followed by a “throwing up” emoji. “Duty log book reads! 13 year old Female minor found in room 343. Duty notifies barracks manger. Pmo is called to check it out[.] Nci agent shows up and so on[.]”
The authenticity of the video and logbook have not been confirmed.
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A spokesperson for NCIS said in an email to Law&Crime that no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.
Casaundra Perez, who claims she is the girl’s aunt, has posted multiple videos on TikTok about the alleged incident.
“She had been sold to a soldier for sex,” Perez says in the video posted Thursday. “The military is trying to cover it up.”
In a video posted Saturday, Perez thanked the service member who released the logbook pages and noted that the teen is Native American and asked for referrals to lawyers who have experience representing indigenous clients. She said again that the military is trying to “cover up” the details, but did not provide any specifics.
“This story needs to be impossible to bury,” she said, imploring viewers to share her video. “I will not rest until the whole world knows and those responsible are held accountable and justice is served,” she also said.
She also noted that the minor’s learning disabilities “are not severe enough to warrant 24-hour watch.”
Since being found, the girl has been interviewed by deputies and returned to her grandmother.
According to LaDieu, the teen’s information was “entered into multiple missing person databases, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC),” shortly after she was reported missing by her grandmother. “Family Protection Detail Detectives received the case for follow-up investigation and continued working the case by following up on potential leads.”
LaDieu said that the investigation is being handled by the Naval Criminal Investigative Services, or NCIS, with the support of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force.
Representatives for Camp Pendleton did not immediately responded to Law&Crime’s request for information.
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