Authorities Interviewing Father of Girl, 3, Left at Grove: Police | NBC Southern California

Authorities Interviewing Father of Girl, 3, Left at Grove: Police

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A father was interviewed at an LAPD station after his young daughter was found abandoned at the Grove on Saturday. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (Published Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014)

The father of a toddler abandoned at one of Los Angeles's premier shopping centers came forward nearly a day later Sunday and was interviewed by police and child protective services, officials said. 

The girl remained in the custody of child protective services. Los Angeles Police Department officials said she and her father had not been reunited.

The father told officers at the Wilshire Division station that he didn't initially know the 3-year-old was missing, but had been actively trying to get in contact with her.

A female relative who’d been watching the girl dropped her off at the Grove about 6 p.m. Saturday, according to police, who are treating the case as a misunderstanding.

When she was put in police custody, the girl gave her name simply as Audrey, a stumbling block in trying to find her family, police said.

Audrey was happy and talkative, when she was first turned over to the LAPD, according to Lt. Lonnie Tiano, who said she was in "good shape."

A woman dropped Audrey off at The Grove's valet area along with a car seat, but never returned to pick her up, Tiano said.

After a search of the mall, parking attendants called police, who took Audrey into their custody and brought her to the Department of Children and Family Services, Tiano said.

Children and Family Services still had to verify that the man picking her up was Audrey's father, and had yet to decide whether to turn Audrey over to him.

Aubrey's story had touched many people who called police offering gifts or a home to Audrey after her picture was released to news media, police said.

"Hopefully they'll be watching the news and see their child on TV and call us," Tiano said Sunday morning.

In fact, Audrey's San Diegan grandfather who spotted her picture on a news report Sunday. He told his son Audrey was missing; police said the father told them he was already actively searching for Audrey by then.

The father told authorities that he was looking for his daughter at The Grove until 11 p.m., police said, but assumed that the person she was with had taken her home. They were supposed to meet at The Grove earlier that day.

Correction: This article misspelled one instance of Audrey's name.

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