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Penn Hills Police Chief: Suspect Arrested 1 Year Ago For Abducting Victim After She Got Off School Bus

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PENN HILLS (KDKA) -- The young man accused of abducting his teenage ex-girlfriend from her Penn Hills home on Wednesday night will face a judge today on a long list of charges, and police say he's been arrested for kidnapping the same girl before.

"He has been arrested before, for the same thing, and he just did the same thing again," said Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton.

The abducted Penn Hills teen is being treated at the hospital after an hours-long search in the middle of the night. Her alleged captor is now in police custody. Police from at least five departments worked to find 16-year-old Marjani Aquil, allegedly assaulted inside her home and kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend.

marjani aquil
Marjani Aquil (Photo Courtesy Of Police)

The suspect is 19-year-old Jermaine Rodgers. He's the victim's ex-boyfriend and who police say broke into her home Wednesday night on Glenbrook Court in Penn Hills, beat her up, and threw her in a car and drove away. Police tell KDKA this is the second time he's assaulted and kidnapped Aquil.

Chief Burton said the decision to issue an AMBER Alert happened quickly.

"Once we got everything together, which didn't take too long, because we did feel this girl was threatened and in danger, and a young age, 16," said Chief Burton.

Pennsylvania State Police issued the AMBER Alert at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Penn Hill Police quickly received a tip.

"She said on Facebook Live she actually saw this girl and this guy sitting in a room in a house in McKeesport," said Chief Burton.

The phone call tip about the Facebook Live led police to a home on 28th Street in McKeesport where they ended up spotting the victim sitting inside the living room. Detectives located the suspect in a coal cellar underneath the front porch. The SWAT team broke into the cellar and arrested him.

Chief Burton said his officers arrested the suspect in January 2018 for a similar crime against the same female victim.

"What happened the last time was the young lady was abducted by him after she got off her school bus," Chief Burton said.

Chief Burton said Rodgers threw her in an SUV, beat her, and then held her against her will inside a Wilkinsburg apartment for four days.

Watch Paul Martino's report --


Following the arrest, the judge sentenced Rodgers and ordered him to one-year probation that started on Dec. 6. Chief Burton said the probation was to last one year, but Rodgers barely made it one month.

District Attorney Stephen Zappala's spokesman released the following statement explaining why Rodgers was released on probation: "It is an unfortunate reality in cases involving domestic abuse and violence that a victim will change their story or otherwise indicate that they do not want to be considered a victim. In such an instance we can only proceed with charges which we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt."

Rodgers probation has been revoked and he is being held without bond.

He is now facing charges of kidnapping of a minor, burglary, unlawful restraint of a minor, terroristic threats, simple assault, harassment and criminal mischief.

Rodgers faces a preliminary hearing later this month.

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