An Ellenwood family is trying to raise a $10,000 ransom to get their 14-year-old daughter back. The teenager remained missing Wednesday, more than 24 hours after being taken by two armed men who came into the family’s home, in an apparently random kidnapping.
Police say Ayvani Hope Perez was taken by the men after their demand for cash and jewelry went unmet in a robbery attempt. On Tuesday night, many of her Dutchtown Middle School classmates held a vigil for her at Dutchtown High School in Hampton. There were more than 150 gathered in a candle-lit prayer vigil in hopes for the teen’s safe return.
“I possibly have a chance to never see her again,” former classmate Nina Richardson told the AJC. “On so many levels, it just feels so unreal.”
Ayvani’s aunt, Suky Guerrero, told the paper that family members were working to raise enough money for the ransom. The demand was reportedly confirmed by a law enforcement official who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Guerrero is Ayvani’s paternal aunt and took Ayvani’s father, Alberto Perez, 47, to the airport in El Paso, Texas, to fly to Atlanta on Tuesday morning, adding, “My brother doesn’t have a clue. He doesn’t have any money like that.”
Perez, she said, wanted to be by the side of Ayvani’s mother Maria Perez. The two are divorced.
The FBI and GBI are now involved in the search for the girl, and authorities are asking for the public’s help to locate the men who drove away in a gray Dodge.
The GBI has released sketches of the suspects. Anyone with information on the girl or the suspects is being asked call a special tips hotline at 770-477-3513 or Clayton County police at 678-610-4781.
During the invation, the two suspects, described as Black men who were wearing dark clothing, pried open the family’s back door at around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday in Ellenwood, according to police. Perez’ mother told investigators she tried to hide her two children but the gunmen found them and then made the demands for money and jewelry.
Police say the two men shot the family dog — which survived — and abducted Ayvani.