Suspect Says 13-Year-Old "Was Free to Go"

20-year-old charged in girl's disappearance says she didn't want to return home

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCDFW.com
    Humberto Corona denies that he and a friend held a 13-year-old Irving girl against her will.

    One of the two men accused of holding a 13-year-old Irving girl against her will denied the charge in a jailhouse interview and pleaded for his release.

    "They should let me out since they found her," Humberto Corona, 20, said. "She was free to go the whole time. She never asked to leave."

    Corona said he and a friend, Todge Thurman, met the girl, at a basketball game at Lamar Middle School in Irving the night of Dec. 13.

    He said the three stayed overnight at an apartment and she left the following morning.

    "After that, we don't know where she went to," Corona said. "She said she wanted to go anywhere but not home."

    Corona and Thurman, also 20, are charged with unlawful restraint and are being held in the Irving jail on $75,000 bail.

    Detectives are trying to trace the girl's whereabouts the entire week. More charges are possible against Corona and Thurman and perhaps others, said Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz.

    The girl returned home at about 5 a.m. Tuesday.

    Police are investigating the possibility that she was held against her will by other people.

    She was let go in Dallas sometime overnight, and a Good Samaritan gave her a ride to her neighborhood, Argumaniz said.

    Corona said the girl told him her parents didn't care about her.

    Her parents immediately called police after she disappeared and later placed yellow ribbons in their front yard around a sign that said, "All we want for Christmas is [our daughter]."

    "We just have her tangled up in her daddy's lap," her mother said soon after her return. "I asked her, does she want to go to the emergency room, and she said no."

    The family declined follow-up interviews later Tuesday.

    Corona apologized in his jailhouse interview.

    "I just want to tell her family I'm sorry. That's it," he said.

    He said he first believed she was 15 but learned later that night that she was 13.

    When asked if he was bothered by the age difference, Corona said, "I didn't know it was going to lead to this right here... I'm sorry for what I did. If I could take it back, I would. But I can't."

    He said he hid from police officers when they were looking for him and Wicks because he didn't want to get in trouble.

    Corona has been arrested three previous times on suspicion of marijuana possession, evading arrest and burglary but said he wanted to turn his life around.

    "I ain't going to do nothing else after this," he said. "Nothing. No more. Nothing."