Jessie Bender: Girl Flees Family to Escape Arranged Marriage in Pakistan

A copy of Jessie Benders missing poster, handed out as police conducted their investigation of her disappearance.

Jessie Bender, a 13-year-old California girl, fled from her home to avoid an arranged marriage in Pakistan, but has been found by authorities unharmed.

Jessies mother reported her missing about a week ago, and provided detectives with false information, hindering their investigation.

Bender family members misled detectives and withheld critical information and as a result delayed the investigation and recovery of their daughter Jessie Bender, said Hesperia Sheriffs Department spokeswoman Roxanne Walker to the Daily Mail.

First, she told the San Bernardino Sheriffs Department and Hesperia Police Department that Jessie ran away because she wanted to avoid a two-month trip to Pakistan with her.

Later, the mother said she believed her daughter was abducted by someone she met on Facebook. The police continued to investigate with the new information, and contacted the FBI, US Marshalls Office, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children for their help.

Ultimately, authorities could not find any information that could substantiate the mothers claims.

While sifting through the familys cell phone and computer records, authorities began to suspect members of the Bender family.

Jessie was eventually found on Wednesday hiding with another member of the family, said to be an uncle, at a hotel 30 miles away from her Hesperia, Calif., home. Apparently she was hiding from her parents who were planning an arranged marriage in her fathers home country of Pakistan.

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 Walker.

Jessie and three of her siblings are now in child protective custody with the Department of Children and Family Services as a full investigation on the family is being conducted.

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