Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
A 14-year-old Georgia girl who was abducted from her home early Tuesday by two gunmen has been found alive, WXIA-TV reports. quoting Clayton County sheriff's officials.
WXIA-TV says Ayvani Hope Perez , who was snatched from her home in Ellenwood, Ga., about 2:15 am. by two masked men, was found in Clayton County, south of Atlanta. CNN quotes the FBI as saying she was dropped off by the abductors and picked up by police.
WSB-TV reports that one suspect is in police custody. WXIA says Clayton County officials identified one of the suspects as Wildrego Jackson, described as a career felon, currently on probation.
Fox News reports that the teen was taken to a local hospital for observation.
The two armed intruders, who were initially looking for money and jewelry, demanded $10,000 ransom, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday. NBC News reports that the kidnappers later raised their ransom demand to $100,000.
A statewide AMBER Alert had been issued for Ayvani, who is 4 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 93 pounds. She was last seen wearing blue-and-gray Star Wars pajamas and a blue-and-gray "Super Hero" shirt. The FBI has also joined the investigation.
Clayton County Officer Phong Nguyen said the robbers pried open a back door to gain entry. Ayvani's mother, Maria Magdalena Corral Perez, tried to hide her daughter, 15-year-old son and a poodle, but the gunmen found them. After their mother said she had no valuables, one gunman shot and wounded the dog and fled with Ayvani.
The Journal-Constitution quotes Nguyen as saying that the victims and the gunmen did not appear to know each other. He says the family moved in about a month ago.
WXIA-TV reports that it has learned that drug trafficking charges against the mother were dropped shortly after she and four others were arrested in February 2012, in Henry County.
Ayvani's aunt, Suky Guerrero, told the AJC on Tuesday that family members were trying to get the money together to secure the teen's release. The newspaper confirmed the ransom demand with a law enforcement official close to the investigation who was unauthorized to speak publicly.Guerrero took her brother, Ayvani's father, Alberto Perez, 47, to the airport in El Paso to fly to Atlanta. "My brother doesn't have a clue. He doesn't have any money like that."
Perez, she said, wanted to be by the side of his ex-wife during the ordeal.
"He was devastated, not knowing what to do," Guerrero said.
Meanwhile, friends and classmates of Ayvani held a prayer vigil late Tuesday in front of Dutchtown High School in Hampton, Ga. Many of the missing girl's friends were classmates at Dutchtown Middle School before Perez moved to attend Stockbridge High.
Friends burned candles and held signs with pictures of the missing teen.
"I don't get it," Sydney Chaquir told WXIA-TV. "It's not clicking in my mind why somebody would do this to her. It's like a dream."
A Facebook page called Please BRING Ayvani Hope Perez HOME SAFE has been created to help locate Ayvani. As of Wednesday, the page had nearly 5,000 "likes."
On Tuesday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released sketches of the suspects, who were driving a gray Dodge or Chevrolet Impala.