The girl was reported missing on June 13 by her grandmother, who said that she ran away from home on June 9. It is not clear why it took her four days to report the girl missing, but she did say that she has run away in the past but always returned quickly. Her information had been entered into several missing databases for missing people, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Military police eventually found her in the barracks on June 28, nearly 20 days after she first disappeared. An investigation is being carried out by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) with support from the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force and the Sheriff's Department.
The Marine, who is reportedly with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, was brought into custody for questioning immediately but was released to his command and has not yet been charged. Images of Marine Corps police taking him away in handcuffs made their way across social media a few days after the incident; Captain Chuck Palmer confirmed that the Marine in the pictures had been detained and questioned but did not release his name, age or rank.
The girl was interviewed by authorities and has been returned to her grandmother. The sheriff’s department said that the family was offered "services."
It is not clear how the young girl and the Marine came into contact with one another, but the girl's aunt posted a video on TikTok claiming that she was sold to him for sex and raped by him. She believes that the military is attempting to cover up what happened.
Clearly concerned about what might happen to her if she shares her story, she began the video by saying: “I would just like to preface this video, I did not kill myself. If I go missing or end up murdered, the people potentially responsible could possibly be located here at Camp Pendleton.”
She went on to claim that everyone at Camp Pendleton allowed the girl to be victimized and is now trying to cover up what happened.
She stated: “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 on to base where he then proceeded to have sex with her.”
“Due to her age, she could not have given this consent,” she added.
Although nothing has been publicly released that substantiates the aunt's claims, many are wondering how a 14-year-old missing girl who has learning disabilities ended up in a highly secure military installation weeks after disappearing. Questions are also swirling about whether others in the barracks were aware of her presence.
Visitors to the base are stopped at the entrance and required to present authorization to enter. Marines may bring visitors into the barracks up to certain hours depending on the building in question. Most single marines share a room with others, and the barracks also feature common areas with televisions.
The girl's aunt pleaded with other Marines on the base to help in the investigation and share what they know with authorities. She said: “Please hold your fellow service members accountable. Please be the hero you signed up to be."
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