The Prince George’s County police have found a 16-year-old girl they said Tuesday morning was the victim of a targeted kidnapping. But on Tuesday afternoon, police said they’re still working out exactly what happened.
Erica Alvarez was found safely at about 2:30 p.m. after having gone missing at about 8 a.m., police spokeswoman Jenifer Donelan said Tuesday afternoon. They said they were talking with her and would provide more details.
Alvarez was found alone and, as far as the police can tell, physically unharmed in Prince George’s County, Donelan said. As to what exactly happened to her, “We’re still trying to get to the bottom of that,” Donelan said. “And that’s going to take a while.”
She added that Alvarez was cooperating with detectives, and the police have to get her story “and determine her level of safety” before deciding what happens next.
Donelan credited Alvarez’s friends’ use of social media with the police department’s ability to make contact with her and find her, and added that the witnesses to Alvarez’s disappearance did the right thing: “Call us. Call 911. Get us on the scene. Don’t waste time. That was done right this morning.”
Tuesday morning, the police said Alvarez had been taken by two males in black clothing and ski masks and put into a dark-colored SUV at about 8 a.m. Tuesday on 15th Avenue in Langley Park, Maryland, just north of University Boulevard. Donelan at the time said witnesses had told police Alvarez was taken against her will from in front of a group of people and put into a dark-colored SUV that had been seen circling the neighborhood.
On Tuesday afternoon, Donelan said, “We have not discounted the witness information at this point. But we need her to tell us that she was taken against her will in order to 100 percent say ‘This is what happened.’ At this point I can’t walk out and tell you that, because they’re still back there speaking with her.”
Doneland added, “We would still like to speak with the person who was driving that vehicle.”
Alvarez was reported as a critical missing person in Washington, D.C., on May 22, Donelan said Tuesday morning; the D.C. police had been searching for her since.
At 6 a.m., the Prince George’s police got a call from the same area saying Alvarez was outside and seemed distraught, Donelan said; by the time they got there, she was gone.
The police circulated photos of Alvarez and an SUV matching the description that was in the area at the time. They think it might be a 2005 Ford Explorer.
“We have no indication at this point that this has any gang relation at all,” Donelan added.
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