She reported him abducted at 1:17 a.m., after the alleged smugglers put her son back into a van and headed for Alabama, Williams said. The woman provided the van’s description and tag number, and the boy had already been recovered at the Cleburne Welcome Center by the time an Amber alert pinged cellphones and flashed across message boards statewide, shortly before 6 a.m.
The teenager was taken to the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office. Through the GBI, local authorities were put in touch with Homeland Security, which is now in charge of the investigation.
The five others remain detained in Cleburne County, Alabama. None is believed to be a victim, but the extent of their involvement is unknown, according to the sheriff.
“There’s definitely a kidnapping case here, but there’s also a trafficking and smuggling case,” he said. “There’s just a whole host of violations here, and most of it is going to fall under the federal investigation.”
The sheriff said few details could be released while the case remains under investigation. He is concerned there could be others being smuggled through Haralson County.
“What if there are other people out here in the pipeline? I’d like to see them go back to where they came from. And if we could try to get somebody else, to rescue somebody else, I’d like to see that, too.”