Missing 10-Year-Old Northridge Girl Found, Two Wanted in Abduction

The girl had last been seen in her bedroom early Wednesday morning, her mother told police

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After an all-day search, a missing girl from Northridge was found Wednesday afternoon at a Starbucks in Woodland Hills. Her family reported her missing 12 hours prior. Robert Kovacik reports from Woodland Hills for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 27, 2013.

    Investigators announced Wednesday evening they are searching for two men wanted in the abduction of a 10-year-old Northridge girl who was found 12 hours after disappearing from her room in the middle of the night.

    "That’s nothing any child should go through," said Capt. William Hayes, with LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division. "Our goal is to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. If these individuals were brazen enough to do that, I want to make sure they don’t do it again."

    It was not clear what had transpired in the hours since the girl had gone missing. The girl told police she had been taken by two men, one of whom appeared to be 18 years old.

    LAPD "Adding Crime Scenes" in Missing Girl Investigation

    [LA] LAPD "Adding Crime Scenes" in Missing Girl Investigation
    LAPD Capt. Kris Pitcher said as investigators interviewed the girl, they received new information that led police to add more crime scenes to the search. Robert Kovacik reports from Woodland Hills for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on March 27, 2013. NOTE: Authorities later said the girl was dropped off at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Woodland Hills, not a Goodwill store as investigators previously believed.

    A motive for the abduction was unknown late Wednesday and investigators do not think the girl knew her captors, Hayes said at an evening news conference. There's no indication the men were armed during the kidnapping, he said.

    Investigators were continuing to look for evidence and were "adding crime scenes" late Wednesday, including a storage facility and a moving truck in the San Fernando Valley.

    LAPD "Adding Crime Scenes" in Missing Girl Investigation

    [LA] LAPD "Adding Crime Scenes" in Missing Girl Investigation
    LAPD Capt. Kris Pitcher said as investigators interviewed the girl, they received new information that led police to add more crime scenes to the search. Robert Kovacik reports from Woodland Hills for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on March 27, 2013. NOTE: Authorities later said the girl was dropped off at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Woodland Hills, not a Goodwill store as investigators previously believed.

    A truck believed to have been used by the abductors has been recovered, officials said.

    A vacant home in Northridge was part of the investigation, but has since been ruled out as a possible crime scene. The girl told detectives she was taken to a house after being abducted from hers, police said.

    The abductors dropped off the girl at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center, not at a nearby Goodwill as investigators previously believed.

    She walked a mile from the hospital to a Starbucks on Canoga Avenue in Woodland Hills, where a woman saw her and dropped her off to two LAPD officers on patrol.

    She was led, walking of her own will and apparently barefoot, to a waiting LA Fire Department ambulance, aerial video showed. She was being taken as a precaution via ambulance -- without lights and siren -- to West Hills Hospital & Medical Center.

    The girl had been reported missing early Wednesday morning from her family's home in the 8000 block of Oakdale Avenue in Northridge, prompting an extensive search on the part of the LAPD and FBI.

    Since the girl has been found, NBC4 is no longer identifying the girl by name or in images that had been released by authorities.

    At an afternoon press conference, LAPD Capt. Chris Pitcher said the girl was alert and responding to officers.

    "She was there, she was walking, she was talking," Pitcher said.

    The girl's condition was not being released Wednesday to protect her privacy, hospital and law enforcement officials said.

    Police had been called at 2:50 p.m. with a report that the girl had been found. She had been located by an "unknown citizen," Pitcher said.

    "She’s got some cuts, some bruises, some abrasions," Pitcher said.

    He said she was in shock, though she was communicating with officers. She was undergoing tests at the hospital, where her family was taken just before 5:30 p.m.

    An FBI spokeswoman had confirmed earlier Wednesday that the agency was assisting the LAPD in the search for the girl, who was described as 4 feet, 11 inches tall, 100 pounds with long red hair and blue eyes, according to police.

    The intense response was motivated in part because of the critical first few hours after a child has gone missing, Pitcher said. He said the LAPD was lucky to have FBI resources available to help.

    The mother of the girl had last seen her in her bedroom at about 1 a.m. Wednesday, according to police. When the mother checked in the bedroom again about 3:40 a.m., the door was ajar and the girl was missing and nowhere else in the house, Pitcher said.

    The mother told police her daughter does not have a history of running away from home.

    "By all accounts, she's a very bright 10-year-old and has never done anything like run away," LAPD Capt. Daryl Russell said early Wednesday.

    There were no signs of forced entry. A side gate was open and back door was left unlocked, according to investigators. Both are normally closed, according to the family, investigators said.

    A community alert distributed by the LAPD noted that the girl could not reach the lock on the gate without assistance.

    LAPD detectives issued a news release Wednesday morning to ask for help locating the girl, and a flier was posted in the Northridge area, as seen below.


     

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