Thursday, March 3, 2011

California Runaway Jesse Bender Was Fleeing Forced Marriage in Pakistan

The news about Pakistan just keeps coming.

HESPERIA, Calif. — Investigators who spent more than a week searching for a 13-year-old girl her family feared had run away with someone she met online found her unharmed in a hotel Wednesday, where she said she had been hiding to avoid being forced into an arranged marriage in Pakistan.

Jesse Bender was taken into child protective custody as authorities decide whether to recommend filing charges against her family, San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said.

No arrests have been made. A call to the Bender family home in the desert city of Hesperia went unanswered late Wednesday.
Jesse's mother reported her missing on Feb. 22, telling authorities that her daughter was upset about having to go on a two-month vacation to her father's native Pakistan, Bachman said.

Several days later, Melissa Bender told investigators she was worried her daughter ran off with someone she had been communicating with on Facebook. Her statement launched a nationwide kidnapping investigation by the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and multiple law enforcement agencies fearful that the girl was with an Internet predator.

Detectives served several search warrants and the investigation reached as far as Chicago because the mother believed the person who befriended her daughter on Facebook lived there.

"All that information was misleading," Bachman said. "Whoever she was communicating with online was not a threat to her."

As detectives began to focus on the Bender family, they learned that a relative was hiding Jessie in the nearby town of Apple Valley out of fear that she would be taken to Pakistan. That relative led detectives to the hotel early Wednesday.

Jesse's three siblings were also taken into child protective custody pending the completion of the investigation, Bachman said.

"All of the information that was obtained by investigators will be sent to the district attorney's office for review, I'm sure they'll make some sort of recommendation," Bachman said. (Source)


Jabari said...

Can anyone answer this question for me:

1. Is there dating in the muslim world?

And if not, how do pre-marriage work in Islam?

Unknown said...

That mother is a sellout and deserves to lose access to all her children. Disgusting. She got to choose who she wanted to marry, but now wants to deny her daughter the same right and is willing to pimp her out at such a young age.

@Jabari, if they're trying to marry them off that young (probably to some disgusting pedophile in his 50's), I don't see how they could have any time for dating. And besides, dating is about the people seeing if they like being together and clearly what the woman (or more accurately, the girl) wants matters nothing :( I hope this girl never has to go back to those abusive parents! She's lucky to have had some people in her family to help her. Most girls in that position do not.