“We have a 10-year-old girl that’s been traumatized here, she was forcibly taken from her home,” Hayes said. “If these individuals are brazen enough to do that, I’m putting all the resources I have to make sure they don’t do it again.”
The girl’s parents reported her missing just before 4 a.m., and more than 11 hours later, someone who recognized her from media reports spotted her outside a Starbucks shop and summoned police officers who happened to be nearby, police Capt. Kris Pitcher said at an earlier news conference.
Police later learned the girl had been dropped at a hospital a few blocks away and had wandered to the area around the coffee shop, Hayes said.
“She basically is in shock right now,” Pitcher said.
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.
There were no clear signs of forced entry into the house, Hayes said, but a gate outside that had been closed was left open and investigators believe the men somehow made their way in through the back of the house.
Police released the girl’s name, description and a photo in an urgent campaign seeking the public’s 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.