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Los Angeles police are searching for two men wanted in the apparent abduction early Wednesday of a 10-year-old girl who was found 12 hours later after wandering to a Starbucks.
The girl disappeared in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday from her room at home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Northridge. Her mother told police that she saw the girl in bed at 1 a.m., then discovered her daughter missing around 3:40 a.m., according to a community alert issued by the Los Angeles Police Department.
A search was launched with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Nearly half a day after disappearing, the girl apparently was dropped off by an unknown person at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center, before walking about a mile to the coffee shop, NBC Los Angeles reported. Police picked her up there around 3 p.m. – six miles from her home.
Police said the girl was in shock but communicative when they found her. She was taken to a hospital for tests and reunited with her family around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“She was there, she was walking, she was talking,” LAPD Capt. Chris Pitcher said Wednesday. “She’s got some cuts, some bruises, some abrasions.”
What exactly happened between the girl’s abduction and her reappearance remained unclear Thursday. Her abductors were two men, the girl told police, according to NBC Los Angeles, and one of them may have been about 18 years old.
The men do not seem to have been armed and their motive is not known, police said.
“A 10-year-old young lady that’s been through a traumatic incident like this – you can imagine that there are a lot of things that are going on,” said Capt. William Hayes, head of the LAPD's robbery and homicide division.
“We don’t want to traumatize her any further. So we’re taking our time and working with her to find out as much information as we can,” Hayes said.
Police said Thursday that they had confiscated a truck thought to be connected to the kidnapping.
Investigators do not think the red-haired little girl knew her abductors, Hayes said Wednesday evening at a press conference, according to NBC Los Angeles.
“That’s nothing any child should go through,” Hayes said Wednesday evening. “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.”
Police said that there were no signs of forced entry at the girl’s Northridge home.