Tom Begaye, 27, made his first court appearance Wednesday in connection with the kidnapping and murder of an 11-year-old Navajo girl.
Ashlynne Mike and her brother, Ian, were kidnapped from their school bus stop Monday afternoon. Begaye took the kids to an isolated area on a dirt road 6 miles south of Shiprock, New Mexico, authorities said.
Begaye and the girl walked into the hills, but Begaye came back alone, Ian Mike told authorities. The 9-year-old boy ran for 2 miles in the dark to the nearest highway, where a passing driver found him Monday night.
Begaye told investigators his motive was to have sex with the girl, according to records. Ashlynne was hit twice with a tire iron, the criminal complaint says.
An Amber Alert did not go out until 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday. On social media, many members of the tribe questioned why the alert was not issued sooner. The tribe’s public safety director said every protocol was followed.
Begaye, no relation to the Navajo president, faces two counts of kidnapping and one count of murder.