BRADENTON, Fla. – A 12-year-old girl who may have been abducted by a 25-year-old co-worker of her brothers was found alive late Wednesday in South Carolina.
Child Protective Services took temporary custody of the girl, Margarita Aguilar-Lopez (search), after finding her at a Wal-Mart at 8:30 p.m in Easley, S.C.
Antonio Paulino-Perez (search) was arrested in Easley and charged with interference with child custody under a Florida warrant, said Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski. Paulino-Perez was being held in Easley for questioning and pending a hearing to determine his return to Florida.
The girl was to be flown to Florida on Thursday.
Police had issued an Amber Alert (search) Tuesday for Margarita, who had last been seen Monday night at a Bradenton motel, where she was staying with two brothers who had left her in the care of Paulino-Perez.
When the two brothers returned to their room at the Classic Inn at about 8 p.m. Monday, the child and Paulino-Perez were missing, police said. Police had said Paulino-Perez was suspected of taking the girl.
The brothers did not report the girl missing until Tuesday morning, even though a Bradenton police officer had spoken to them at the motel at about 10 p.m. Monday while investigating a battery complaint against one of them, Rubino Aguilar.
When asked about the delay, one brother told police that he and his brother were "too intoxicated and could not remember." Police did not immediately release the brothers' ages or occupation.
Margarita's parents are in Mexico. She is an illegal immigrant living with her two brothers and her sister-in-law at the motel. Margarita babysits her brother's children while the family's adults work at migrant labor in Ruskin, said Major William Tokajer, Bradenton police spokesman.
Bradenton, on Florida's Gulf Coast, is about 20 miles south of Ruskin, where 12-year-old Sarah Lunde (search) was found strangled in a fish pond earlier this month, and about 110 miles south of Homosassa, where 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford (search) was sexually assaulted and slain in February. A former boyfriend of Sarah's mother is charged with her death and a part-time neighbor is accused of killing Jessica.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.