A 13-year-old Hesperia [California] girl and three siblings are in protective custody after authorities discovered the girl holed up at a motel to avoid being taken to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials said detectives found Jessie Marie Bender safe and in good condition in an Apple Valley motel, where she was being hidden by another family member.
Bender’s mother had told detectives that her daughter did not want to go on a two-month family trip to Pakistan and ran away. She later told police her daughter may have been abducted by someone she had been corresponding with on Facebook, triggering a massive search for the teenager that included local law enforcement, the FBI, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S.Marshals Service and detectives from the Los Angeles and Chicago police departments.
After combing through cellphone records and computer data and interviewing her friends and families, however, sheriff’s detectives found no evidence that her disappearance was related to her correspondence on Facebook and that the family’s initial reports were false.
…. “It was revealed that a member of the Bender family concealed Jess in the town of Apple Valley out of fear that she would be taken to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.”
Let’s hear it for separation of state from church. One more time.
The fight to modernize civil rights is different in every country. Here in the GOUSA folks still haven’t gotten past the ignorance stage when it comes to equal civil rights for marriage.
In Pakistan – and more than a couple of other lands – children and young people haven’t the right to choose who they marry. Trying to enforce those customs in the United States is not acceptable, forbidden by our Constitution.
A pleasure to see a safe beginning to a modern ending to this story.