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Marine Taken Into Custody: Police Find Missing 14-Year-Old Girl in the Barracks of California’s Camp Pendleton

Source: CBS7

On June 13, a distressed grandmother reported her 14-year-old granddaughter missing to the San Deigo County Sheriff’s Department. She said the girl left home and didn’t come back for four days. The worried grandmother confirmed that it wasn’t the first she had run away, but it was only for brief periods.

But to her shock, the teenage girl was found by the military police in an unexpected place: the barracks at a Marine Corps base in California, located north of San Diego, as confirmed by Mellisa Aquino, a sheriff’s spokesperson. Her disappearance was linked to a Marine, who had already been detained by the authorities.

Capt. Charles Palmer, the director of communications strategy and operations for the 1st Marine Logistics Group, confirmed this fact in a statement when he said that “ On June 28, an unidentified Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group was taken into custody for questioning by Naval Criminal Investigative Services.”

The Captain announced that the Marine had been released to his command while the investigation continued. However, formal charges were yet to be filed. In a statement to Associated Press, he said, “This command takes this matter and all allegations very seriously.” 

Aquino stated that the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force and the Sheriff’s Department were supporting the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) with the investigation.

The sheriff’s office said that to find her, they entered the girl’s information into multiple databases for missing persons, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It’s unknown how long the teenager stayed at the barracks or if any other Marines noticed her and reported her presence. 

However, after she was found on the base, she was returned to her grandmother. She was further interviewed, and the family was “offered services”. But, officials from the military and law enforcement chose not to share additional information on what kind of services they were offered.

The details of the teenager have not been publicly released. The sheriff’s office clarified that they don’t disclose any information that could reveal the identity of minor victims. There is also no information about how the girl and the Marine met or if they first connected online or in person. The details of the Marine’s age or rank are yet unknown.

NCIS spokesperson, Jeff Houston, said in an official statement, “Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS does not comment on, confirm details relating to, or confirm the existence of ongoing investigations.”

His statement was also backed by Lt. David LaDieu, the sheriff’s department’s media relations director, who said in a statement that NCIS was handling the investigation and that “the only involvement we have had is the recovering the juvenile as she was listed missing from our jurisdiction.”

In all, representatives for the state attorney general’s office have not responded to inquiries about the human trafficking task force’s involvement in the matter. But thankfully, the missing teenager is back home with her loved ones.


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