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Kidnapped Georgia teenager found alive; two suspects in custody

September 18, 2013|By Christine Mai-Duc

A Georgia teen kidnapped from her home at gunpoint has been found alive and two suspects are in custody in connection with the case, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.

Police said 14-year-old Ayvani Hope Perez was found Wednesday in Conyers, about 25 miles from her home, where two gunmen allegedly broke in and abducted her after in an apparent home invasion.

“This is a good day,” said County Police Chief Gregory Porter in a press conference. “She is safe.… She’s in good health, and she’s being evaluated as we speak.” More than 100 personnel had been involved in the search for Ayvani, he said.

Wildrego Jackson, a 29-year-old Atlanta resident with a lengthy criminal record, was being held on charges of conspiracy to kidnap, said FBI Special Agent Rick Maxwell. Also arrested was Juan Alberto Contreras-Rodriguez, a 40-year-old Mexican national who is being held on immigration violations.

Maxwell said the two men are not believed to be the men who broke into the home early Tuesday morning.

Those men, whose police-sketched faces have been shown by news outlets and online, are two of several suspects still at large, said Maxwell.

According to police, the robbers broke into the family’s home in an Atlanta suburb at 2:15 a.m. Tuesday, demanding money and jewelry. When Perez’s mother told them there was none, they kidnapped Ayvani and shot the family dog, police said.

Authorities said they had not yet determined the relationship between the suspects or whether they knew the family. Earlier police reports suggested the robbery was randomly targeted.

One family member told CBS News that the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of $10,000 for Ayvani’s safe return. Law enforcement officials would not confirm the demand of a ransom.

Porter credited “hard-core police work” and exposure in the media and on social media with the safe return of the girl. The two men arrested Wednesday were taken into custody without incident, Maxwell added.

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christine.maiduc@latimes.com

Twitter: @cmaiduc

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