News

Teen girl kidnapped during robbery found alive

Teen girl kidnapped during robbery found alive

Clayton County police officers stand guard Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, near a house where 14-year-old Ayvani Hope Perez was kidnapped Tuesday during a home invasion, in Ellenwood, Ga. The FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were assisting Clayton County police in the massive search for the teen. /AP Photo/John Bazemore

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) – A teenager abducted from her suburban Atlanta home by armed men who snatched her during a home invasion has been found alive, and two suspects have been arrested about 34 hours after the girl went missing, police said on Wednesday.

“This is a good day, a good day for the Perez family,” said Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter. “She’s safe, she’s with her family.”

The girl, 14-year-old Ayvani Hope Perez, appeared in good health, though she was still being evaluated, Porter told a news conference. She was found at a location in Conyers, a suburb not far from her home in Ellenwood.

Porter credited “hard-core police work” and “boots on the ground” for an end to the young kidnapping victim’s ordeal.

Porter and Rick Maxwell, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta office, declined to answer many questions about the case and neither would discuss the circumstances of Perez’s “rescue.”

Porter said two suspects, including a Mexican national, were in custody. Neither of them were the two men depicted in sketches released on Tuesday of the men who had abducted the girl.

Maxwell said the men profiled in the sketches remained at large.

“We’re still wrapping up the investigation, we’re still in the preliminary stages,” Porter said, when asked about reports that a ransom demand had been made by the kidnappers.

Two armed men initially demanded money and jewelry after breaking into the home of Perez, before dragging her away, according to the authorities.

When the girl’s mother said she had nothing to give them, they kidnapped her daughter instead, pulling her out of a closet where she had been hiding with an older sibling, the police said.

The men also shot dead the family’s dog, a small poodle.

Family members could not be reached for immediate comment.

Porter said more than 150 law enforcement officials, including personnel from the FBI and Georgia Bureau of Investigation, had been involved in the search for Perez and her kidnappers.

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