A statewide AMBER Alert was issued for 14-year-old Ayvani Hope Perez, who was abducted by two men during a home-invasion robbery early Sept. 17, 2013, in Ellenwood, Ga.
(Photo: Clayton County (Ga.) Police Department)
A 14-year-old Georgia girl who was abducted from her home by two gunmen was found alive and safe on Wednesday, Clayton County police chief Gregory Porter said. Two suspects are in custody.
"She is in good health," he told reporters.
WXIA-TV says Ayvani Hope Perez , who was snatched from her home in Ellenwood, Ga., about 2:15 am. Tuesday by two masked men, was found in Clayton County, south of Atlanta. CNN quotes the FBI as saying she was dropped off by the abductors and picked up by police.
WXIA says Clayton County officials identified one of the suspects as Wildrego Jackson, described as a career felon, currently on probation.
Ayvani Hope Perez was abducted by two armed intruders who demanded $10,000 ransom demanded by the gunmen, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.
A statewide AMBER Alert was issued for Ayvani, who is 4 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 93 pounds. She was last seen wearing blue-and-gray Star Wars pajamas and a blue-and-gray "Super Hero" shirt. The FBI has also joined the investigation.
Clayton County Officer Phong Nguyen said the robbers pried open a back door to gain entry. Ayvani's mother, Maria Magdalena Corral Perez, tried to hide her daughter, 15-year-old son and a poodle, but the gunmen found them. After their mother said she had no valuables, one gunman shot and wounded the dog and fled with Ayvani.
The Journal-Constitution quotes Nguyen as saying that the victims and the gunmen did not appear to know each other. He says the family moved in about a month ago.
WXIA-TV reports that it has learned that drug trafficking charges against the mother were dropped shortly after she and four others were arrested in February 2012, in Henry County.
Ayvani's aunt, Suky Guerrero, told the AJC on Tuesday that family members were trying to get the money together to secure the teen's release. The newspaper confirmed the ransom demand with a law enforcement official close to the investigation who was unauthorized to speak publicly.
Guerrero took her brother, Ayvani's father, Alberto Perez, 47, to the airport in El Paso to fly to Atlanta. "My brother doesn't have a clue. He doesn't have any money like that."
Perez, she said, wanted to be by the side of his ex-wife during the ordeal.
"He was devastated, not knowing what to do," Guerrero said.
Meanwhile, friends and classmates of Ayvani held a prayer vigil late Tuesday in front of Dutchtown High School in Hampton, Ga. Many of the missing girl's friends were classmates at Dutchtown Middle School before Perez moved to attend Stockbridge High.
Friends burned candles and held signs with pictures of the missing teen.
"I don't get it," Sydney Chaquir told WXIA-TV. "It's not clicking in my mind why somebody would do this to her. It's like a dream."
A Facebook page called Please BRING Ayvani Hope Perez HOME SAFE has been created to help locate Ayvani. As of Wednesday, the page had nearly 5,000 "likes."
On Tuesday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released sketches of the suspects, who were driving a gray Dodge or Chevrolet Impala.