LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 10-year-old girl reported missing from bed just before 4 a.m. Wednesday was found nearly 12 hours later when someone dropped her off outside businesses six miles from her Los Angeles home, police said.
The girl was spotted outside a Starbucks shop by someone who recognized her from media reports and summoned police officers who happened to be nearby, police Capt. Kris Pitcher said at a news conference shortly after the girl was found.
She had been dropped off by an unidentified person and had bruises and cuts on her face, police said.
“She basically is in shock right now,” Pitcher said. “She’s walking, she’s talking, she’s conversing with the officers and with the FBI agents, and with the doctors and the nurses at the hospital.”
The girl was wearing an oversized white T-shirt and was barefoot when she was found.
Her parents reported that she had been wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with characters from the TV show “Heroes” when they last saw her in her bedroom shortly after midnight, police spokesman Richard French said. When they checked on her a few hours later, she was gone.
Police released the girl’s name, description and a photo in an urgent campaign seeking public help in spotting the child with distinctive long red hair. After she was found, police asked media to stop using the name and photo, but did not immediately provide a reason.
It was unclear if she might have been abducted or lured from her home, though police indicated they were seeking someone.
“We are turning every stone we can to catch up with this individual,” Pitcher said.
The parents said nothing happened in the house that might have prompted the girl to run away, police said.
Officers went door to door in a two-mile radius and interviewed the girl’s classmates and friends. The FBI’s child abduction unit was also involved in the search, Pitcher said.
Police Lt. Terri Brinkmeyer said the girl did not have a history of running away.
“She’s a good kid. She’s not a troublemaker, and this isn’t anything she would normally do,” he said.