MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - A Huntsville man is facing felony charges in multiple counties after law enforcement agencies discovered him with a missing 13-year-old girl.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and Pelham police have canceled an Emergency Missing Child Alert for a missing 13-year-old girl. Pelham Police Chief Pat Cheatwood confirmed she was located in the Huntsville area and is safe.
Chief Cheatwood wanted to remind parents to be "vigilant and to know the whereabouts of your children at all times. Try to maintain strong relationships with them and please know who their friends are."
Pelham Police confirm they have issued a felony warrant against Rodrigo Ortega, 24, of Huntsville for interference with custody. Ortega will be brought to Shelby County to face charges. The Madison County Sheriff's Office said that Ortega met the victim on social media and told her he was 19 years old.
MCSO charged Ortega with enticing a child and second-degree rape. Ortega is in the Madison County Jail on a $30,000 total bond.
Police say the victim was checked out at a local hospital in north Alabama.
Investigators will speak to her about what happened over the last couple of days once she has been reunited with her family.
Investigators followed tips that led law enforcement officers to a home on Joslin Street in Huntsville where the victim and Ortega were located.
Both the victim and Ortega were taken into custody without incident. The girl was taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center for investigative follow-up. Ortega was taken to MCSO Criminal Investigations Division where he was interviewed by the FBI and MCSO task force investigators.
The investigation is on-going and more charges are expected to follow.
Sheriff Kevin Turner stated, “We are happy that the victim can be reunited with her family, and that the man responsible has been brought to justice. The tireless work by the FBI and the Sheriff’s Office Investigators help bring this case to a close. This is yet another example of the importance of multi-jurisdictional partnerships. I’d also like to thank ALEA who made the AMBER alert broadcast possible."
This was a multi-agency investigation conducted by the FBI, HPD, MCSO, Pelham PD, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.
"Parents, this is a warning to every one of us. We encourage parents to be mindful of what your kids are doing online and who they are talking to. These threats are real and do exist."