The harrowing search for a missing three-year-old girl was brought to an end Sunday when a member of the cocated the abandoned child in a parking lot. The young girl was reported missing on Saturday evening when a car thief hopped into and stole her mother’s car in a parking lot with the three-year-old still buckled inside.
According to the police reports at about 8:30 p.m. at a store near Lomas and San Pedro, Albuquerque the mother of three-year-old Caraline Leon-Alcocar was filling up jugs of water when the mother’s worse nightmare happened. A man walked up to and simply hopped inside of the woman’s car, taking off and stealing the vehicle with little Caraline still inside. Police began a hunt for the thief and the toddler.
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) January 6, 2016
The car was reportedly found some time later by officers at a local thrift store near Carlisle and Menaul, but unfortunately neither the thief nor the little girl were in the vehicle, and that fact triggered an Amber Alert and a desperate city wide search. Caraline was missing for about five hours before a Albuquerque Police Department officer Chris Poccia found the child huddled against the frigid morning air in an empty parking lot a little after 1 a.m. on Sunday. ABC News reported that Tanner Tixier, APD lead public information officer, released a statement about the condition Caraline was found in.
“She was very, very cold, very scared, but fortunately not injured or (suffering from hypothermia) when she was found. All things considered, she was in pretty decent health for what she had just gone through.”
Locating the girl was a stroke of luck the police had been hoping for, especially given that when she went missing they had no leads and the night’s temperature was dropping progressively lower. The moment when police officer Chris Poccia first spotted the little girl was caught on his lapel camera.
The video shows the officer leaping out of his car the moment he spots the little girl on a parking block, sitting down and wrapped up in her purple jacket. The officer says he was afraid she was not moving initially but, once he picks her up Caraline the video records her saying over and over again that she is cold. The missing girl was cold, crying, and had been alone for an unknown amount of time, but was otherwise unharmed.
There is still no solid lead on the the suspect that stole the car with inside. US News wrote the police believe that more than likely the thief had dropped the abducted child off somewhere before he later abandoned the car as well. A grainy surveillance footage from the parking lot where the car was first stolen is the only indication the Albuquerque Police Department have of what the thief looks like, however, investigators have an interview with Caraline scheduled. The interview will be conducted with an investigator trained to interview children.
Albuquerque, NM "searching for thief..jacked a mother’s car w/ Caraline in it 1am spotted in a lot.."scared & cold" pic.twitter.com/wtC7PWlL7z
— Mike Oakenshield (@myecoll) January 5, 2016
The APD says that they are also seeking a second man that was seen talking to the thief before he abducted the little girl in the car jacking. Investigators have described the suspect who abducted Caraline as being 5’11’ to 6′ tall, most likely 190-200 pounds who had short brown hair and is possibly Hispanic. The man had been wearing a black puffy jacket and jeans when he abducted the little girl.
The APD stated that aside from the charges of car theft the suspect will also likely face charges of kidnapping and child abuse when he is caught. The police are asking anyone with any information to contact them at 505-242-COPS(2677).
[Photo Courtesy of Luis Louro/ Shutterstock]