ELLENWOOD, Ga. — Police records show that the mother of a 14-year-old kidnapping victim was arrested in the same drug case as one of the men arrested in the girl’s disappearance.
Two men are in custody after police say Ayvani Hope Perez was taken at gunpoint from her suburban Atlanta home early Tuesday. She was found safe on Wednesday.
Police had said that the crime appeared to be random. But arrest records show that one of the men in custody, Juan Alberto Contreras-Rodriguez, was arrested in a drug bust at a Henry County home in February 2012. A judge later dismissed the drug trafficking charge.
Ayvani’s mother, Maria Corral, was arrested in that same bust, though she was never indicted and the case was dismissed. It was not immediately clear why Corral and Contreras-Rodriguez were at the Henry County home together.
Authorities have released few details about their ongoing investigation.
Police on Thursday were still searching for others who may have been involved in the kidnapping of the Georgia girl. The teen was taken from her home in Ellenwood, just southeast of Atlanta, after authorities said armed robbers broke in, demanded money and jewelry and were told there was none. The family’s dog was also shot and killed during the robbery, police said.
Ayvani’s mother had her daughter and her 15-year-old son hiding inside the home, but the intruders were able to find them, police said.
Authorities said Wednesday they hadn’t established a motive for the abduction, and they did not disclose any relationship between the suspects and the robbery victims.
When asked at a news conference whether the suspects in custody knew Ayvani and her family, FBI Special Agent Rick Maxwell said only that “we have not determined the relationship between those people.”
The girl was found in a nearby community, Conyers, was in good health and has been reunited with her family, Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter said.
Wildrego Jackson, 29, faces a federal charge of conspiracy to kidnap. The police chief also said Contreras-Rodriguez, a 40-year-old Mexican national, has been arrested on immigration-related charges.
He did not elaborate further.
It was not immediately known if the two men had lawyers.
He and Jackson were not the men identified in police sketches released Tuesday, Maxwell said. Investigators are still looking for tips about the two suspects pictured in the sketches, he said.