Amber Alert canceled after missing Philly girl found
PHILADELPHIA -- Police say the 5-year-old girl who was abducted from a school in West Philadelphia on Monday was "targeted."
An Amber Alert had been issued for the girl on Monday evening. She was found by a passerby named Nelson Mandela Myers at 4:40 a.m. Tuesday at a playground in Upper Darby, Delaware County wearing only a t-shirt.
Police said at a news conference on Tuesday morning that the abduction was "not random."
Sources said she was taken from her school to a home at an unknown location where she was blindfolded.
The girl was taken to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for evaluation. Action News is told that she is expected to be just fine, and that her mother was reunited with her at the hospital.
Also at that news conference, Philadephia police said there were no overt signs of physical injury to the girl. However, she was screened for possible signs of sexual assault, police said, given the fact she was found in a state of partial undress. The girl is now back at home.
Action News previously identified the girl because she was missing. However, we are no longer identifying her because she is a possible assault victim.
Upper Darby police say Myers was on his way to work when he heard the girl's cries Tuesday morning and found her under a playground sliding board near 69th Street and Marshall Road, cold and upset.
Police say the girl told Myers that she had been "stolen." She reportedly told investigators that she was able to run away from the people who took her.
The girl went missing Monday morning from her school, Bryant Elementary, located at 6001 Cedar Avenue in West Philadelphia. Her mother says she dropped off her daughter at 8:45 a.m.
Just minutes later, police said, a woman dressed in Muslim garb, which only shows her eyes, signed in with the name "Tiffany."
That woman, who remains at large, has been described as a black female in her 20s, standing about 5'5" to 5'6" tall. Police say she may have been pregnant.
Police said that woman was "screened to some degree" and told to go to the school's office. However, police said, she went to the girl's classroom. That woman allegedly told the substitute teacher on duty that day she was her mother and was taking the girl to breakfast.
Police said the girl did not appear to be alarmed to be going with the woman.
Investigators said that this did not appear to be a random act, but rather the girl was targeted, noting that the woman knew where to go and asked for the girl by name.
Surveillance footage shows the girl walking from her classroom with the unknown woman at the school around 8:50 a.m.
"I don't think that my child knew her. I think that my child thought that she was a familiar person because she was Muslim," her mother said.
Authorities say when someone from the girl's daycare arrived to pick her up at 3:00 p.m., they finally realized something was wrong.
An Amber Alert was issued Monday night and police released surveillance video of the incident.
Then hours later, in the cold early morning hours, the girl was discovered.
A spokesperson for the Philadelphia School District admits that the Bryant Elementary did not follow proper protocol for school visitors. The substitute teacher involved has been suspended and the school district said an investigation has begun into exactly how this happened.
The Fraternal Order of Police is offering a $5,000 reward for tips leading to an arrest. Mayor Michael Nutter previously posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to the girl's safe return. There was no immediate word whether Myers would receive the reward.
In a different incident at the same school, three 10- and 11-year-old boys were charged in November 2011 after reportedly sexually assaulting another boy in the restroom.
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