SALUDA COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Kentucky teen who was taken from her home in December 2017 was found confined in a Saluda County bedroom and a 24-year-old man was arrested for her kidnapping.
The Saluda County Sheriff's Office says they received a report from family members about a missing 16-year-old teen from Kentucky on Feb. 20. Deputies went to a Saluda County home where the victim reportedly was and met Florencio Gomez Saiche. Saiche told deputies that no one else was at the home.
"Due to the language barrier and several state lines crossed in this case the Sheriff's Office investigators contacted SLED and the SCDPS Immigration Enforcement Unit to support the investigation," the sheriff's office said in a release.
Investigators say the teen went missing on or around Dec. 7 from Kentucky and brought to Saluda County. She was located when she was able to contact her family through social media when Saiche was not around.
Saluda County Sheriff John C. Perry says that the teen may have been hesitant to ask for help because she is an illegal immigrant.
While deputies were there, they heard a noise and found the teen confined to a bedroom. Saiche, who is also an illegal immigrant, was then arrested and charged with kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
"During the investigation, heard someone else in the residence," Perry said. "So, they did a protective sweep of the residence to find out and sure enough located the victim. He used intimidation factors, you know, because of the status of our victim."
She did not have any visible injuries, but because of the sensitive nature of the case, is still being evaluated but has been reunited with her family.
The sheriff says it's not unusual for a perpetrator to use a victim's illegal immigration status as a way to keep them from reporting the crime.
Saiche was denied bond at a hearing on Thursday.