OCEANSIDE, Calif. – Military authorities provided the latest updates on the inquiry involving a U.S. Marine and a 14-year-old girl who had been reported missing but was later found after two weeks at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
“The 1st Marine Logistics Group continues to treat the accusations against this Marine with utmost seriousness. Currently, the command is collaborating with law enforcement to ensure a thorough and comprehensive ongoing investigation,” stated the release.
Further details will be disclosed following the scheduling and completion of a preliminary hearing, officials stated.
“Subsequent to this hearing, the command will evaluate appropriate charges, if applicable, based on the investigation’s outcomes, available evidence, and consultation with legal representatives,” the statement added.
The teenager was reported missing on June 13 by her grandmother in San Diego, who informed authorities that the girl had recently run away from home. The grandmother conveyed to the interviewing officer that the girl had run away on previous occasions, but only for short periods.
A report for a missing person was filed, and the girl’s details were entered into various missing persons databases, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
On June 28, military police located the teenager in the barracks at Camp Pendleton and subsequently informed local authorities. Camp Pendleton is situated approximately 40 miles north of San Diego.
Officials shared that the teenager, acknowledged by her family to have learning disabilities, was interviewed and has since returned to her grandmother’s home.
A Marine from Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, was detained for questioning by the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS), the primary agency overseeing the investigation, on June 28.
The Marine has subsequently been released to his unit while federal law enforcement agencies carry out the investigation, as stated by Marine Capt. Charles Palmer of the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton.
At this time, the nature of the Marine’s relationship with the teenager remains unclear; however, her family asserts that she was traded to the Marine for sexual purposes.
A woman identifying herself as the girl’s aunt, Casaundra Perez, shared a TikTok video that has gained significant attention, alleging that her niece was sexually assaulted at the Camp Pendleton military barracks.
Perez stated in the video, “They’re attempting to conceal the incident and put most of the blame on her. Yet, the truth is that the entire facility allowed this to occur.” She added, “Security looked at her and permitted this man to bring a minor onto the base, where he then engaged in sexual activity with her. Due to her age, she couldn’t have given consent.”
Military officials noted that they are unable to divulge further details, including the Marine’s age or rank. The case has been handed over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the federal agency responsible for investigating criminal cases involving the Navy and Marine Corps.
According to NCIS spokesperson Jeff Houston, no arrests or charges have been made in connection with the case. He confirmed that the Marine was held temporarily for questioning and subsequently returned to his unit. The sheriff’s department and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force are aiding in the investigation.