New Mexico Man Arrested in Abduction and Death of 11-Year-Old Navajo Girl Whose Body Was Found Near Famed Monument
A 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the abduction and murder of an 11-year-old girl from the Navajo Nation after her body was found near the famed Shiprock monument in New Mexico, PEOPLE confirms.
Federal officials arrested Tom Begaye, of Waterflow, on Tuesday, just hours after Ashlynne Mike’s body was found a few miles south of the famed monument, FBI Albuquerque spokesperson Frank Fisher tells PEOPLE.
Fisher says no further information will be released until after Begaye appears in court on Wednesday.
The arrest followed an intense search for Ashlynne after she and her 9-year-old brother went missing near their Fruitland home on Monday.
Police said Ashlynne and her brother climbed into a stranger’s van after he offered to take them to a movie on Monday afternoon as they stood at a bus stop after school, the Associated Press reports.
The brother was reluctant, but because he didn’t want his sister to go with the man alone, he climbed into the vehicle and the stranger sped away with the kids in tow, the AP reports.
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The brother was found by the highway near the Arizona State line around 7:00 p.m. on Monday, but investigators have not said whether he escaped or was released by the alleged kidnapper, the AP reports.
He had been running and screaming for more than two miles before a passerby saw him and took him to police, the AP reports.
“He was so tired and just crying and crying for his sister,” the aunt of the siblings told the AP. “It was really hard for the FBI to get any information from him.”
Nearly 100 people, including federal, state, tribal and county officers, took part in the hunt for Ashlynne after the abduction.
The search came to a disappointing end when officials found Ashlynne’s body near the famed monument. A cause of death has not yet been made public.