Hesperia Teen May Have Run Away to Avoid Arranged Marriage in Pakistan | NBC Southern California

Hesperia Teen May Have Run Away to Avoid Arranged Marriage in Pakistan

Police raided the Benders' home Tuesday night

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    Jessie Bender flyers were still displayed in Hesperia Wednesday night, hours after San Bernardino County Sheriff's confirmed they found the 13-year-old girl safe in an Apple Valley hotel, missing for eight days.

    Authorities believe she was trying to dodge an arranged marriage in her stepfather's homeland of Pakistan, contrary to her mother's claims earlier on Monday that Jessie was chasing someone she met on Facebook.

    "We know who he is. We do know what name he is using. We know what photos he's using, but we don't know if they're real or not," said Melissa Bender, Jessie's mother on Monday.

    Wednesday night, Melissa Bender said the "arranged marriage" allegation was "crap," and said police questioned her and her husband for more than 30 hours.

    Police raided the Benders' home Tuesday night.

    One neighbor watched, and said his heart sank.

    "I can't tell you the feeling I felt when I saw these FBI people taking pictures, and taking things. I really felt in my heart this little girl was dead," said neighbor Lawrence Alvarez.

    Investigators tell NBCLA other relatives helped Jessie hide from her parents. Another neighbor said she did the right thing.

    "I'm glad she did what did, and went to family members. I don't blame her for that at all," said Omar Garcia, a neighbor.