More than 80 days after a missing 14-year-old girl was found in a Camp Pendleton barracks, her family says they’ve received few details about the investigation or those who brought the girl onto the military base.
Casaundra Perez, the girl’s aunt, alleges her niece was raped by a Marine on the base north of San Diego and, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, said military police at the base questioned her niece without a guardian present before notifying her family that she had been found. The aunt continues to be concerned about the investigation and said she worries that investigators have attempted to lay some blame on her niece and get the incident “swept under the rug.”
“(Investigators) were accusing (my niece) of communicating with the Marine, and saying that he was her boyfriend, but she doesn’t even know the Marine’s name,” Perez said.
Perez said the family is working with CommunityX, an organization that organizes petitions, calls to action and fundraisers through “digital activism,” to raise awareness of her niece’s case.
An online petition created by Perez is demanding that the name of the Marine be released to the family, that an impartial investigation be completed and that Camp Pendleton adopt measures to prevent similar incidents. The petition has garnered more than 7,000 signatures.
“Eighty-five days since this happened, and the identity of the accused is still not being released, either privately to the family, to the victim, or to the public,” said Chloe Cheyenne, founder of CommunityX.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service confirmed the investigation is still active and that no charges have been filed.
NCIS declined to offer any other details, citing the ongoing investigation.
“As always, NCIS is committed to fully investigating any allegation of criminal behavior that threatens the Department of the Navy’s readiness and the safety of children in the communities where our family live and work,” said spokesperson Jeff Houston in a statement.
NCIS has previously confirmed that it took a Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 5 in for questioning on the day the girl was found.
Officials with the 1st Marine Logistics Group did not immediately respond to inquiries about the case.
Perez said the family has received calls from detectives who said the investigation is moving along but provided few specific details.
The family has been particularly concerned that the Navy has not issued a military protective order, or MPO, which is often issued to prevent military personnel under investigation from contacting alleged victims. The MPO, relatives said, would have also revealed the Marine’s name to the girl and her family.
The girl went missing June 10 from her home in Spring Valley, in San Diego County, and Perez said she spent June 27 and 28 at the base before she was discovered.
She said her niece does not know the Marine who brought her onto the base. Investigators initially told the family that the girl had been in communication with the Marine, but Perez suspects her niece was sold to the Marine for sex, though she provided no evidence.
She also questioned how the Marine was able to bring a minor onto the base.
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