14-year-old girl found in Camp Pendleton was raped by Marine, family claim

A Marine has been taken into custody by military police in connection with the teen’s discovery on the base

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 12 July 2023 15:06 BST
Related video: Tate brothers arrive at court after being charged with rape and human trafficking

The family of a 14-year-old girl who was found inside a barracks building at Camp Pendleton claims a Marine at the based raped the teenager.

The girl ran away from her grandmother's home on 9 June. Her grandmother reported her missing four days later, explaining later than the teen had run away several times in the past but always came home.

Police eventually found the girl inside a building at Camp Pendleton, a Marine base midway between San Diego and Los Angeles, on 28 June.

Casaundra Perez, the girl's aunt, told police that the girl was sold to the Marine for sex, according to NBC 7 San Diego.

A TikTok account sharing Ms Perez's name posted a video explaining what she says happened to the 14-year-old girl.

"I would just like to preface this video, I did not kill myself, if I go missing or end up murdered the people potentially responsible could possibly be located here at Camp Pendleton," she says over a clip of the base's entry sign.

She later reveals that her niece has "learning disabilities" and reiterates that the girl is a minor.

Ms Perez accuses the military of trying to cover up her niece's story, and says the "whole facility" allowed the incident to happen.

“The security looked her in the face and allowed this man to bring a minor on to base where he then proceeded to have sex with her" the teen's aunt said. "Due to her age, she could not have given this consent.”

Ms Perez continues, saying a person referred to them by the military met with the family and told them they believe the "military detective" investigating the incident was trying to sweep it under the rug.

She says she will release the detective's name and phone number to the public pending her attorney's approval as a way to bring attention to her niece's case to ensure the investigation is continued.

At the end of the video Ms Perez admits that she and her family are afraid of retaliation from the military and from the man she believes trafficked her niece.

The Independent has reached out to the base for comment.

A Marine has been arrested in connection with the girl; on 2 July a Marine was handcuffed and detained by military police at the base. Captain Chuck Palmer later confirmed that the Marine was taken in and questioned about the girl.

"We can confirm that a Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group was taken into custody for questioning by Naval Criminal Investigative Services on June 28, 2023, as seen on social media July 2, 2023," Mr Palmer told NBC 7. "The incident is under investigation, and we will continue to cooperate with NCIS and appropriate authorities."

Mr Palmer said the Marine has not been charged with a crime nor has he been identified to the public, though he was still in custody as of Thursday.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is handling further inquiry into the matter, and has stated it will not release further details due to the ongoing investigation.

"Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS does not comment on, confirm details relating to, or confirm the existence of ongoing investigations," the agency said in a statement.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in