Family of 14-Year-Old Girl Found at Camp Pendleton Claims She Was Sex Trafficked by Marine

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

Authorities have announced that a 14-year-old girl who went missing from her Spring Valley, California home has been found at Camp Pendleton, and a Marine has been taken into custody in connection with the case, which is being investigated by human trafficking authorities. The girl, who had a history of running away, was located by military police on June 28 and subsequently interviewed by detectives.

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Details are still emerging as the authorities continue to investigate:

A 14-year-old girl who ran away from her grandmother’s Spring Valley area home on June 9 was found last week inside the barracks at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) confirmed. The teen’s disappearance was reported to the Sheriff’s Department four days later by her grandmother.

“The grandmother reported to deputies that the teen had previously run away before, but always returned home quickly,” Melissa Aquino, SDSO’s media relations officer noted.

The girl, who has learning disabilities, was found in the barracks June 28 by military police, according to her aunt Casaundra Perez. Perez claims her niece was sold to a Marine for sex.

In a TikTok video, Perez indicated that she was concerned about retaliation from the armed forces and the individual who is alleged to have sexually abused her niece. The San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force is supporting Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) with the investigation.

In the video, Perez said her niece “had been sold to a soldier for sex” and that “the military is trying to cover it up” and “place the majority of the blame on [her niece].”

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♬ original sound – Casaundra Perez

Perez continued:

However, the reality is the whole facility allowed this to happen. The security looked her in the face and allowed this man to bring a minor onto base, where he then proceeded to have sex with her. Due to her age, she could not have given this consent.

A social media user posted pictures of a Marine being escorted on the base in handcuffs. He has not yet been identified:

A photograph posted to Instagram by the account notinregz, which shares content submitted by military personnel, shows an unidentified Marine in handcuffs being escorted by military police officers. The post included a photo of what it said was a handwritten logbook from Camp Pendleton that says military personnel found a 13-year-old girl in the barracks June 28. The Times could not verify the authenticity of the logbook page.

A Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 5 was taken into custody for questioning by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service the day the girl was found, 1st Marine Logistics Group spokesperson Capt. Charles Palmer confirmed.

The Marine is on active duty and assigned to the battalion stationed at Camp Pendleton, Palmer said.

“This command takes this matter and these allegations very seriously. The incident is under investigation, and we will continue to cooperate with NCIS and appropriate authorities,” Palmer said in a statement.

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Palmer told reporters that “a Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group was taken into custody for questioning by Naval Criminal Investigative Services on June 28, 2023.”

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