PELHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Pelham police say the 24-year-old male charged in the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl from Pelham, met the girl online and lied about his age.
The girl was last seen at the Green Park South Mobile Home at 7 a.m. on January 21 in Pelham. She was located in the Huntsville area Thursday afternoon with 24-year-old Rodrigo Ortega.
According to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Ortega, who lives in Huntsville, met the teenager on social media and told her he was 19 years old. MCSO has charged Ortega with second degree rape and enticing a child. The Pelham Police Department will be charging Ortega with Interference with Child Custody. Ortega is also on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement contingent hold.
“We are happy that the victim can be reunited with her family, and that the man responsible has been brought to justice," says Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner.
Pelham Police say after reviewing surveillance video near the mobile home, it was determined that the girl willingly got into a dark-colored Mercedes SUV.
“I just want to take this opportunity also to remind parents to be vigilant. To know the whereabouts of your children at all times. Try to maintain strong relationships with them and please know who they’re friends are,” said Pelham Police Chief Pat Cheatwood.