An illegal immigrant who was previously deported from the United States is now a suspect in the kidnapping of a 12-year-old girl and faces three capital murder charges in Alabama.
Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett confirmed that Jose Paulino Pascual-Reyes, 37, was arrested last week and is being held on three murder charges, local outlet WSFA reported.
Pascual-Reyes was deported in 2014 and is now illegally in the United States, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement told The Daily Caller.
The investigation started when an injured 12-year-old girl was found wandering down a road near Dadeville, Ala., last week. Court filings show she had been tied to bedposts, assaulted and drugged for nearly a week before she chewed through her restraints to escape. Law enforcement searched Pascual-Reyes' home and found two decomposing bodies.
The bodies found in the Alabama home have been identified as the girl's 14-year-old brother and her 29-year-old mother, Sandra Vazquez Ceja, who was Pascual-Reyes' girlfriend.
"I have said she is our hero," Sheriff Abbett told PEOPLE. "Hero can be described in many words but you take a 12-year-old who had been restrained and was able to free herself and get to law enforcement and we were able to arrest an individual we feel caused the death of these other two. She is a hero in anybody's mind."