Abducted Georgia teen Ayvani Hope Perez reunited with family (+video)
Ayvani Hope Perez, the 14-year-old girl abducted from her home near Atlanta early Tuesday morning, has been found, and two suspects are in custody.
A 14-year-old girl abducted from her home near Atlanta early Tuesday morning has been found safe and apparently in good health, law enforcement officials reported Wednesday. Two suspects are in custody.
The girl, Ayvani Hope Perez, was taken following what appears to have been a random home invasion in which the suspects demanded jewelry and cash. When none was found, the girl’s relatives reportedly told authorities, the suspects demanded a $10,000 – then $100,000 – ransom for Ayvani’s release.
Local police, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI were involved in the search, which ended when her captors apparently abandoned the ransom plan and dropped off Ayvani in the community of Conyers, Ga., about 25 miles from her home in Ellenwood.
"She's in good health, she's being evaluated as we speak," Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter said at a press conference Wednesday. “This is a good day. This is a good day for the Perez family, but more important for Ayvani.”
The suspects, who were apprehended without incident, have been identified as Wildrego Jackson of Atlanta, and Juan Alberto Contreras-Rodriguez, a Mexican national who is being held on immigration-related charges.
Citing state Department of Corrections records, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Jackson was released from state prison in 2007 after serving time for several drug-related convictions. On July 19, he was released from the Fulton County Jail after being arrested on numerous charges, including aggravated stalking and theft-by-receiving.
Law enforcement authorities – some 150 of whom were involved in the search – are piecing together details about the events surrounding the abduction.
Ayvani's mother reportedly had her daughter and her 15-year-old son hiding inside the home when the break-in occurred. But the intruders were able to find them, along with the family dog, which they shot and killed, police said in a statement.
At Wednesday’s press conference, FBI Special Agent Rick Maxwell said motive for the incident has not yet been determined – specifically, whether or not the victims were known to the suspects.
“We have not determined the relationship between these individuals at this time," Special Agent Maxwell told reporters.
It’s unclear at this point how or where the suspects were found.
Maxwell also said the two suspects in custody are not the two depicted in sketches released Tuesday of the men who abducted the girl.
“We believe those two suspects in the drawings are still at large,” Maxwell said Wednesday afternoon. “Anyone with any information relating to those two suspects, we still ask that they call the same tip line that we provided before.”