MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) – Two men are behind bars after police said they kidnapped a 13-year-old McAllen girl and sexually assaulted her.
Now, McAllen Police are thanking a Border Patrol agent for stopping things from getting worse.
“It was a Sunday and I know God was looking down on her and saved her,” said Victor Rodriguez, McAllen Chief of Police.
Sunday at 9:30 am, a McAllen woman called 911 to said her 13-year-old daughter ran away.
“There’s no question the little girl ran away, she left a note for whatever reason, but it’s the fact that she is 13 years old, they’re not fully mature to know enough about what they’re doing,” said Chief Rodriguez, “We get runaways all the time, they’re typically resolved within hours or days. This tells us the runaway market is global, that’s what alerts us, that’s what alarms us.”
This runaway would have been treated like all the others, but it was a call from U.S. Border Patrol that changed everything.
“This is a very rare occurrence,” said Rodriguez.
A Border Patrol agent working at the Falfurrias Checkpoint noticed a young girl with two older man and thought things did not seem right.
The agent made them pull over and questioned them.
That is when the 13-year-old said she had been sexually assaulted.
“We couldn’t be more thankful that the Border Patrol Agent, on Sunday morning, saw enough in a vehicle with two adult men and a young girl and to said there is something not right here and we were able to recover the girl,” said Rodriguez.
The teen told police she met 21-year-old Brandon Galvez on Snapchat, a social media app, a few days prior and they agreed he would pick her up and take her to Mexico.
Galvez lives in Louisiana and traveled across state lines to pick up the 13-year-old.
“There are people that are looking for victims and they’re willing to travel literally over 1,000 miles to get here for that child,” said Rodriguez.
The teen was violent sexually assaulted, to the point where there was blood taken as evidence, within one hour of her leaving her home.
“We want to use this to signal how dangerous it is for kids to be unguarded in the use of electronics,” said Rodriguez.
McAllen Police said with many teens in quarantine they want parents to stay vigilant.
“This is the absolute time to be watching our kids, to be monitoring their electronic activities, to be guarding their electronic appliances,” said Rodriguez.
Local police teamed up the federal officials to press additional charges on top of sexual assault and kidnapping charges, but also to see if this case is part of a much bigger operation.
“We do a pretty good job of making sure that we’re fully aware of what’s happening out there, and we do as much prevention awareness that we can and obviously law enforcement has done a lot more training to identify human trafficking cases here in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Ricardo Rodriguez, Hidalgo County District Attorney.
The 13-year-old is back at home and is doing well, according to Chief Rodriguez.
Texas ranks second in the nation in human trafficking cases according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.