Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

A man turned himself in to police officials Thursday afternoon and confessed to having sex with a 13-year-old girl he claims he thought was older, police officials said. Police arrested 20-year-old Javier Joseph Alaniz about 4 p.m. and charged him with aggravated sexual assault of a child.

"Little girls should be cautious of incriminating criminals that take advantage of them," said Sgt. Michael Jaramillo, Alice police investigator.

According to police reports, the 13-year-old victim was discovered missing from her home Thursday just before 8 a.m. Her parents reported her missing that same morning.

Reports said the girl was dropped off by the suspect Thursday morning, several blocks from her home.

Police discovered the girl spent the night with Alaniz at the Capri Motel on Highway 281, reports said.

Police said Alaniz turned himself in to custody Thursday afternoon and told police he presumed the girl was older. Alaniz was transported to the Jim Wells County jail and remained there as of Friday morning.

His bond was set at $40,000.

Lt. Luis Barrera with the police department said aggravated sexual cases are on the increase.

"We average about one or two every week of child molestations, indecency or sexual assaults of a child," he said.

Jaramillo advises parents and children to be aware.

"If you think it's safe, it really isn't," he said. "There are people out there that take advantage of young girls."