Los Angeles News

Missing Northridge girl was taken against her will: LAPD

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A 10-year-old Northridge girl reported missing overnight has been found and appears to be OK. But questions remain about her disappearance.

The girl was taken to West Hills Hospital and Medical Center to be evaluated. Investigators say the girl had some facial bruising and lacerations when she was found, but appeared OK otherwise physically. She was walking and talking to officers.

Police said they believe the girl was kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night.

Authorities say the girl's mother last saw her when she went to bed at their home in the 8000 block of Oakdale Avenue at about 1 a.m. Wednesday. Around 3:40 a.m., the mother went to the restroom, and when she checked in on her daughter, she was missing.

The girl was being interviewed by LAPD investigators after she was examined at a hospital in the evening.

According to the LAPD, the girl was taken against her will by two men. It's believed the two men may have entered her house through the back. A side gate that had been secured by the parents in the evening was found open, police said.

The girl was taken to a storage facility at Mason Avenue and Nordhoff Street, then it was believed that she was taken to an abandoned rental property on the 8000 block of Hatillo Avenue, just a street away from the girl's home. It was later determined that she had not been taken to the rental property. Police said they believe there was another location where she was held.

The girl was dropped off at Kaiser Hospital at De Soto Avenue and Burbank Boulevard. She walked from there to a Starbucks at Canoga Avenue and Oxnard Street, where she was recognized by a citizen about 2:45 p.m. The citizen flagged down a passing LAPD sergeant.

At the moving company storage trailer, detectives scoured the inside for clues.

Neighbors of the empty rental property said they were in disbelief. Next door neighbor Dwayne Smith said the owners of the house moved out a few months ago. Smith and his family are shaken by the apparent kidnapping.

"It's very unexpected," Smith said. "We moved here, we thought it is a very safe neighborhood. When something like this happens right in your backyard, it makes you a little nervous."

The girl could only describe one of her suspects, saying he was a white male about 18 years old. The second suspect is a male but she could not describe him any further.

The LAPD said they were interviewing the girl slowly so as not to further traumatize her.

A black pickup truck believed to be part of the case was recovered at the storage facility. They also said they believed a second vehicle was involved.

The girl was held about nine to 10 hours, according to the LAPD.

The family told investigators that she did not have a history of running away and has a good relationship with her parents.

Detectives were seen going door to door in the neighborhood in search of the girl. Officers spent extra time at a home where a registered sex offender lives, looking through trash cans and a backyard shed.

Police said there are still many gaps in this case and that they're looking at surveillance video from a daycare center near the girl's home. They're hoping the young victim can provide them with more details.

Police said they do not believe the suspects were armed and that the victim did not know them.

The investigation is ongoing. Authorities urge anyone with information on the case to call Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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missing person, lapd, los angeles news
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