The Navajo Nation has been shaken by the nightmarish murder of an 11-year-old girl who was kidnapped along with her 9-year-old brother. Authorities say the body of Ashlynne Mike was found in a remote area near the Shiprock monument in northwest New Mexico on Tuesday, the day after a stranger lured her and her brother into his van after school, the Arizona Republic reports. Her brother told authorities Monday evening that the man walked into the hills with his sister and returned alone. He ran toward a highway when he saw the man coming back and was eventually picked up by somebody who took him to police. A frantic search for Ashlynne followed. "He was so tired and just crying and crying for his sister. It was really hard for the FBI to get any information from him," the boy's aunt tells the AP.
On Tuesday night, hours after the girl's body was found, the FBI announced that Tom Begaye, 27, had been arrested in connection with the murder. Relatives say the family did not know Begaye, who allegedly tried to get other children into his van, saying he wanted to take them to a movie. Shawn Mike, father of a boy who refused to get into the suspect's van, tells the Albuquerque Journal that the siblings lived with their father, Gary. "I just can't imagine what the individual said or did to lure them into the vehicle," he says. "I know Gary, he's a good father and taught his kids well." He says the horrific killing should teach the community two things: "I think it's really important to remind our children everywhere not to talk to strangers," he says. "And most importantly to tell them that we love them." (More New Mexico stories.)