Missing Girl, 16, Found Safe in City; Two Men Jailed

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

An East Pittsburgh man is being held without bail on charges that he kidnapped a 16-year-old girl from her home in Penn Hills.

The victim, Marjani Aquil, was found Wednesday night by McKeesport police at a residence in Christy Park, a county police spokeswoman said. Aquil had suffered facial injuries during her abduction and was treated at a local hospital, county police said.

Jermaine Laquay Rodgers, 19, was arrested by McKeesport police and the Allegheny County Police SWAT team following a three-hour standoff.

He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bond pending a preliminary hearing Jan. 28 before Magisteral District Judge Anthony L. DeLuca, court documents indicate.

Police said Rodgers had formerly dated Aquil. They allege that on Wednesday afternoon, Rodgers went to Aquil's home on Glenbrook Drive in Penn Hills, forced entry, and made her leave with him.

A statewide Amber Alert was issued following the abduction.

County police said that Penn Hills police and Allegheny County Sheriff's Deputies received a tip that Rodgers had taken Aquil to a home on 28th Avenue in the city.

McKeesport police arrived at the home just before midnight Thursday. When the door opened, county police said McKeesport officers were able to grab Aquil before the door was closed again.

Police surrounded the home and with the help of county SWAT team members, negotiated with Rodgers using a loudspeaker, the spokeswoman said.

Eventually, two people surrendered --- Christian Peterson, 18, and a teenaged girl who had been reported missing from Munhall, police said.

The juvenile was turned over to Allegheny County Children and Youth Services, county police said.

Peterson was arrested by McKeesport police and charged with hindering apprehension and obstructing the administration of law. He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing Jan. 28 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi.

Following a standoff of three hours, county SWAT team members forced entry to the basement of the home and found Rodgers hiding in a coal cellar, county police said.

He was arrested and turned over to Penn Hills police, county police said.

Rodgers is charged with kidnapping of a minor, burglary, unlawful restraint of a minor, making terroristic threats, simple assault, harassment and criminal mischief.

Penn Hills police told KDKA-TV it was not the first time that Rodgers was accused of kidnapping Aquil.

According to Allegheny County court documents, Penn Hills police arrested Rodgers on Jan. 29, 2018 and charged him with kidnapping, unlawful restraint, stalking, simple assault, harassment, terroristic threats and intimidation of a witness in connection with the alleged abduction of Aquil.

Court records indicate that on Dec. 6, Rodgers pleaded guilty to simple assault and making terroristic threats and was sentenced by Allegheny County Judge Mark V. Tranquilli to one year's probation and ordered to receive a mental health evaluation and not to have any contact with Aquil.

Originally published January 17, 2019.

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