Ayvani Hope Perez went missing around 2:15 a.m. (EST) Tuesday morning when two armed men reportedly broke into her Ellenwood, Ga., home in search of money and jewelry. When the 14-year-old girl's mother told the robbers the family had no valuables, they shot the family dog, grabbed the girl, and fled.
What sounds like the beginning scenes of typical Hollywood B-movie has become all-too-real for the family of Ayvani Hope Perez, who fear the girl's safety. "Good Morning America" reported (via Yahoo News) Sept. 18 that the 14-year-old was taken in the middle of the night and was wearing only pajamas when she was abducted.
The FBI has joined the Clayton County Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in the search for the missing girl, a search which has now entered a second day.
Authorities are currently searching for a gray Dodge, the vehicle the suspects are believed to have been traveling in. Police sketches of the two armed suspects have also been released by the Clayton County Police Department, one of which (per the Associated Press via Yahoo News) depicts a seemingly young African-American male with tight-braided hair.
A report that the family was trying to gather money for a ransom arose shortly after Ayvani Perez went missing. The teen's aunt, Suky Guerrero, told ABC-affiliated WSB-TV the family was in the process of putting together enough money for a ransom. However, authorities were quick to note that, as yet, there had been no ransom demands.
Clayton County Police Lt. Marc Richards said, "We do believe the young lady is in harm's way. We are actively and diligently investigating this situation to make sure she is returned safely."
Friends of the family wonder why the family of the missing teen was targeted. They had moved to Ellenwood, a small Georgia town about ten miles southeast of Atlanta, and had no money and few resources. "I'm more worried and angry about the fact that they chose her family out of any other family because they just bought a house," Ayden Collazo said. "They have no money and they didn't really have anything to begin with."
Department of Justice statistics indicate that kidnapping is on the rise in the United States, with the city of Phoenix, Ariz., holding the distinction of being second only to Mexico City in the number of kidnappings, which authorities attribute to the growing influence of Mexican drug cartels in the area. A 2009 report noted that between 1982-2000 the rate of kidnapping went up 468 percent. Kidnappings make up about 2 percent of all violent crime committed against juveniles. A breakdown of the statistics suggest that the abductions fall into distinct types of kidnappings: 49% of all kidnappings are “family kidnappings,” 27% are “acquaintance kidnappings,” and 24% are “stranger kidnappings.”
Ayvani Hope Perez is described as 4 feet, 9 inches tall and 93 pounds. She is Hispanic, with brown eyes and black hair. She was wearing blue and grey Star Wars pajama bottoms and a blue and grey super hero shirt when she was abducted.
Anyone with information on the girl or the suspects should call a special tips hotline at 770-477-3513 or Clayton County police at 678-610-4781.
UPDATE: Ayvani Perez has been found, according to Clayton County Police. However, she has been taken to a local hospital for observation. Details as to her condition or anything concerning her abductors have yet to be released.