FBI Charlotte
Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch
slynch@fbi.gov
November 28, 2018

FBI and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Find Missing Girl Alive

The FBI and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office found 13-year-old Aubrey Joelle Acree safe and alive in Checotah, Oklahoma, just before 11:00 p.m., on November 28, 2018. Troopers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and special agents and task force officers with the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office found Aubrey and arrested 23-year-old Jacob Gardea of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Gardea is facing charges from the state of North Carolina for Abduction of a Child. Additional charges could be pending.

Investigative work by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the SBI, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles led to the exact identity of a vehicle of interest. Additional investigative work helped pinpoint the location of the vehicle and additional law enforcement partners were deployed to successfully recover the victim more than 900 miles away from her home.

Aubrey’s family has been notified of this great news and arrangements will be made in the near future to return her home to her loved ones in North Carolina.

Law enforcement is grateful to a keen eyewitness who helped begin our investigative process with a strong lead that brought us to this joyful outcome.

The investigation is ongoing.