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Marine released to base after questioning in case of missing girl

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(NewsNation) — A Marine was released after being questioned in the case of a missing California girl who was located at Camp Pendleton two weeks after her family reported her disappearance.

The 14-year-old has not been named because she is a minor. She was reported missing from her home in Spring Valley, California, miles away from Camp Pendleton, which is just north of San Diego. The girl, who has learning disabilities, had run away from home but returned quickly, according to family members.

On TikTok, Casaundra Perez, the girl’s aunt, accused the military of attempting to cover up the case. They allege the victim was sold to a soldier for sex. Perez questioned how a minor was able to be taken onto the base without raising alarms, given military installations are supposed to have strict security measures.

Military defense attorney Joseph Jordan said that is a major question for investigators because someone should have noticed a young teen in the barracks.

“What if she does look like a 14-year-old?” Jordan asked. “How did the gate guard miss that?”

Jordan said investigators will likely need to question a number of people to figure out what went wrong.

“There will be some barracks policies in place to help people kind of track the movement of people that are in and out of the barracks,” he explained. “It’s going to be up to the staff duty that’s working that evening to ensure that those policies are properly enforced.”

An Instagram account leaked photos of a logbook from the base, which indicated military police found a teenage girl in the barracks at Camp Pendleton on June 28, the day the victim was reported found. The authenticity of those logs has not been confirmed.

A Marine from the base was taken in for questioning by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service but was not arrested. He was later returned to the base.

Perez said on TikTok the family is afraid of retaliation from the military or individuals involved with the alleged human trafficking.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department did not comment on the case beyond saying the girl had been returned to her grandmother and had been offered follow-up services.

The sheriff’s office and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force are assisting NCIS in investigating the case.

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