According to BCPD Sgt. Dennis Archer, certain details of the investigation will not be released due to the ongoing investigation and to protect the identity of the three females involved.
However, Archer confirmed to The Brazil Times that ultimately four officers of the Brazil City Police Department and two officers from the Clay County Sheriff's Department were involved in the investigation to find the juveniles, who at one point were reportedly abducted.
"This whole situation created a strain on both departments," Archer said. "Two of our officers, who would not normally be on duty, were pulled away from their duties as part of Operation Pull Over to work this case and county provided us with two deputies. It is a huge benefit that our departments work so well together."
According to Archer, the investigation began when a concerned parent reported to Patrolman Jeff Bucklin their daughter had not returned home at an assigned time. The parent also reported a friend came to the house to collect their "daughter's belongings" and told where she was.
Unable to find the missing female at the reported address, Bucklin and fellow officers BCPD Patrolman/K-9 Handler Kenny Hill and Patrolman Jeremy Mace and CCSD Deputy/K-9 Handler Brison Swearingen and Deputy Brady Hardy began to patrol Brazil and question juveniles out walking around Brazil, and subsequently at two separate parties in Knightsville and Harmony, if they had information about the female or her whereabouts.
While following up on leads, parents of two other female juveniles reported their daughters missing to the officers.
Around 2 a.m., one of the missing female's parents informed authorities their daughter had just called them.
"The parent reported their daughter said she had been abducted and was with two other girls in a basement, but didn't know where they were," Archer said. "The parent said their daughter told them someone was coming and hung up."
Using the number provided by the parent, Archer said the phone company was unable to trace the cell phone allegedly used by the daughter.
As the investigation continued, officers questioned a person who was able to contact one of the missing females on a cell phone. The girl allegedly told the person she was with the other two, but they were "afraid to get in trouble." When the officer attempted to talk with the female, she hung up.
The phone company was unable to trace the location of the second cell phone, but could provide officials with the owner's identification and their Brazil address.
When Police Chief Dave Archer and officials arrived at the undisclosed address, no one inside the residence would answer the door. While questioning neighbors, several confirmed seeing three girls matching the descriptions of the missing girls earlier in the evening at the residence.
When they returned to the home around 4:30 a.m., Friday, one of the officers happened to look through an open window and see three people apparently hiding under a sheet in a bed.
This time, when officers knocked at the door, one of the missing females answered the door. Once the girls were outside, officers heard someone moving around in the attic area.
The person initially refused to come out, however, Bartholomew J. Gurcheik III, 19, Brazil, was later taken into custody without incident and transported to the Clay County Justice Center.
The missing females (one 14-year-old and two 15-year-olds) were reunited with their families before being questioned by officers. While all three girls admitted to drinking at a party held at the home, two girls admitted to participating in sexual activity, of which one admitted to having sex with Gurcheik.
Gurcheik was booked on preliminary charges of two D and one C felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and misdemeanor charges of resisting law enforcement and contributing with the delinquency of a minor. A copy of this case had been turned over to the Clay County Prosecutor's Office for review.
Jail officials confirm Gurcheik remains incarcerated awaiting formal arraignment per the court calendar.