SAN DIEGO (AP) — A 14-year-old girl was found in the barracks at a California Marine Corps base last month, two weeks after her San Diego grandmother reported running away from home, and a Marine was being held for questioning officials said Monday.
The Marine has since been released under his command while federal law enforcement officers investigate, said Marine Captain Charles Palmer of the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton, about 40 miles north of San Diego.
It was unclear how the girl and the Marine came into contact before military police found her in the barracks during daylight hours on June 28, Palmer said.
According to the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, her grandmother reported her missing on June 13 and told authorities she had run away from home four days earlier. The grandmother told the deputy who interviewed her that the girl had run away before, but only for short periods.
The teen’s information was entered into multiple missing persons databases, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the sheriff said.
After she was found at the base, authorities returned the girl to her grandmother, the sheriff’s department said.
Military officials say they cannot release any other details, including the Marine’s age or rank. The case has been turned over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the federal agency charged with investigating Navy and Marine Corps criminal cases.
NCIS spokesman Jeff Houston said no one has been arrested or charged in the case. He said the Marine was held for questioning and released under his command. The sheriff’s department and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force are assisting the investigation.