A 10-year-old girl was taken in the middle of the night from her L.A. home, police say
She was found about 12 hours later, some 5 miles from her home
L.A. police release information about 1 of the 2 suspects in the case
Days after a 10-year-old girl was snatched from her bedroom in the middle of the night – but found alive nearly 12 hours later and a few miles away – Los Angeles police pleaded Saturday for the public’s help tracking down those responsible.
Though they have said they believe two men were involved in the kidnapping, by Saturday police had only identified one by name as a “wanted suspect”: 30-year-old Tobias Dustin Summers.
In a press conference a few hours before Summers’ image and information came out, Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Andrew Smith said that police believe this was a “stranger abduction.” At the same time, he said, investigators are not ruling anything out – such as whether the abductors had something to do with her family or that acquaintances of hers might have been involved.
“Until we can find these individuals that perpetrated this, we won’t know if this was a random case, or whether it was targeted against this family or this child for any particular reason,” Smith said. “So, right now, we don’t know.”
Around 1 a.m. Wednesday, the girl’s mother last saw her safe in bed in their home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Northridge. The mother heard noises at about 3:30 a.m. and checked on her daughter again, discovering that she was missing.
That set off an intensive search for the girl that ended about 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, when she was found about five miles southwest of her home.
“A Good Samaritan … directed the girl to some police officers nearby, and she was … transported to a local hospital, where she received treatment,” Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman, told reporters Saturday afternoon.
By Saturday, the 10-year-old was back home with her parents, with police on site to provide security and protect the family’s privacy. Some 20 members of the police department’s robbery and homicide division are working the case, Smith said.
In a first preliminary interview with investigators, the girl said she had been put in several vehicles during her 12-hour ordeal, driving to places around the San Fernando Valley.
Police were able to locate at least one of those locations – a storage facility about two miles from the girl’s home – Smith said. The LAPD spokesman did not detail what happened to the girl in that time, urging media to do the same so as not to “further traumatize… that poor girl.”
Smith said that authorities don’t have any reason to believe there’s any rash of child abductions in the area. Still, with the two suspects on the loose, he urged parents to take precautions, such as locking their doors and being extra vigilant.
“Until these two individuals are caught, we don’t know what they’re capable of,” Smith said.