A missing Rutherford County teenager has been located, with the suspect facing abduction charges, according to reports.
The FBI and the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office found 13-year-old Aubrey Joelle Acree safe and alive in Checotah, Oklahoma just before 11 p.m. on Thursday.
Troopers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and special agents and task force officers with FBI Oklahoma City Field Office found Aubrey and arrested 23-year-old Jacob Gardea of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Gardea is facing charges from the state of North Carolina for Abduction of a Child. Additional charges could be pending.
Aubrey’s family has been notified of this great news and arrangements will be made in the near future to return her home to her loved ones in North Carolina.
Law enforcement said a key eyewitness helped begin the investigative process with a strong lead that them to Acree.
Investigative work by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the SBI, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles led to the exact identity of a vehicle of interest, a white Subaru 4-door station wagon. Additional investigative work helped pinpoint the location of the vehicle and additional law enforcement partners were deployed to successfully recover the victim more than 900 miles away from her home.
The investigation is ongoing.