Family says missing 14-year-old girl found in Camp Pendleton barracks sold for sex

City News Service
Sunday, July 9, 2023
Family says missing teen found in Camp Pendleton barracks sold for sex
The family of the missing teen girl found in the barracks of Camp Pendleton say she was sold for sex and was human trafficked by Marines.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (CNS) -- A 14-year-old girl who was reported missing from her Spring Valley home last month is back home after she was found at Camp Pendleton, authorities said today, while a Marine has reportedly been taken into custody in the case, which is being investigated by human trafficking authorities.

The girl, who has not been identified because of her age, was reported missing by her grandmother on June 13, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff's officials said the grandmother told them the girl, who had run away before but always returned home quickly, went missing on June 9.

The teen's information was entered into multiple missing person databases, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Military police at Camp Pendleton located the girl on June 28 and informed the sheriff's department. Detectives interviewed her and the family was offered services, authorities said.

"When a minor runs away, there is usually an underlining of trauma associated. Free counseling and social service programs to help the girl and her family to deal with trauma and personal issues are being offered,'' Lt. Carpenter, a watch commander for the SCSD, told City News Service.

The girl was not hospitalized, but it was unclear if she sustained any injuries.

Since Camp Pendleton is federal property, Naval Criminal Investigative Services is handling the investigation. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force are supporting NCIS with the investigation, sheriff's officials said.

On June 28, a Marine was taken into custody by military police on the base and questioned by NCIS personnel about his involvement with the girl.

Meanwhile, the girl's aunt, Casaundra Perez, posted a video to TikTok in which she said that her family was afraid of retaliation from the military and from the man she believes trafficked her niece.

"Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS does not comment on, confirm details relating to, or confirm the existence of ongoing investigations,'' the agency said in a statement.

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