Preying on the weak. via Missing 13-year-old girl fled to avoid arranged marriage in Pakistan | Mail Online.
A 13-year-old schoolgirl who was missing for more than a week ran away because she was terrified by her mother and stepfather’s alleged plot to send her to Pakistan for an arranged marriage, police claimed today.
Jessie Bender’s parents are accused of keeping their plan secret from detectives after reporting that she had disappeared from their California home.
Their claim that Jessie was abducted by a Facebook predator was proved false after she was discovered hiding with a relative at a hotel about 30 miles from her home in Hesperia, California.
Speaking to MailOnline, Hesperia Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Roxanne Walker said Jessie’s stepfather, Mohammad Khan – who is from Pakistan – and her American mother, Melissa, were planning an arranged marriage for the teen.
‘There was something to that effect in the works and the daughter was scared.
‘She was found with the uncle who was protecting her from the parents,’ said Ms Walker.
Detective Gerald Davenport was carrying out interviews today to determine whether the parents will face prosecution.
One line of inquiry is whether there was any intention to involve Jessie in an arranged marriage in Pakistan while she was under age.
Police also slammed the Bender family for ‘misleading’ them over Jessie’s disappearance, wasting time and resources.
Mrs Walker added: ‘Bender family members misled detectives and withheld critical information and as a result delayed the investigation and recovery of their daughter Jessie Bender.’
Jessie’s family had reported her missing on February 22.
They told police they feared she had been abducted by a man she met on Facebook.
It later emerged her mother Melissa admitted to police that the family were set to go on a two-month trip to Pakistan on February 23.
She confessed her daughter had been upset about having to go on the trip – but insisted ‘she was fine with it’, and said nothing about an arranged marriage.
It is not clear what relatives Jessie has in Pakistan although it is believed her stepfather Mr Kahn may have connections there.
Jessie and her three siblings have been taken to child protective custody by county social services, and no arrests have been made.
Sultan Knish has more in Muslim Men and Non-Muslim Women.
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- Sharia judge rules underage marriage is ok
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