NJ girl allegedly abducted, raped before being found by police in Ohio


When someone is arrested and charged with a crime in New Jersey, police departments observe a protocol that includes the reading of Miranda Rights.

WOODLAND PARK, N.J. – State police in Ohio rescued a 15-year-old New Jersey girl who was allegedly abducted and raped by a man more than twice her age.

Juan Carlos Pedraza-Morales, 33, of Paterson, New Jersey, was pulled over at 11:11 a.m. Tuesday by State Highway Patrol on Route 80 in Toledo, Ohio, after he failed to move over.

When an officer approached the car, he saw Pedraza-Morales and the unidentified girl in the car and found neither had identification and that they did not speak any English,  Sgt. Ivan Nunez said. Nunez, who was not far from the traffic stop, translated for Pedraza-Morales and the girl.

“The girl looked way too young to be with a guy not related to her,” Nunez said.

Nunez said Pedraza-Morales was acting overly friendly and had said that he and the girl were just friends, which she said was true.

Police called Border Patrol to assist and Pedraza-Morales was arrested, Nunez said. An investigation revealed that he was from Mexico and that he had been deported once before. Border Patrol could not identify the girl.

After he was arrested, police were able to provide a female interviewer for the girl where she had a “breakdown.” She told police she was 15 years old and said Pedraza-Morales had forced her to have sex with him, Nunez said. She told police she was taken from Paterson at about midnight Monday and that they had been traveling all night. The results from the rape kit are still being analyzed.

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Nunez said the girl said she initially went willingly with Pedraza-Morales but then became afraid of speaking up for fear of her life and her family’s life. Police believe that the girl was being taken to Chicago for sex trafficking.

The girl gave police her mother’s phone number. They reached out to her, and learned the mother had filed a missing persons report. The State Highway Patrol has been in communication with Paterson police. Paterson police said they could not provide any information about the case. 

Nunez said Pedraza-Morales admitted kissing and hugging the girl but denied they had engaged in sexual intercourse.

Pedraza-Morales is being held at the Lucas County Jail on kidnapping charges and is expected to face charges in New Jersey as well. Nunez said authorities believe the rape occurred in New Jersey.

Follow Kaitlyn Kanzler on Twitter: @KaitlynKanzler8


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