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Northridge kidnapping: 2 suspects sought; truck found

March 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
In a new twist in the abduction of the 10-year-old Northridge girl, the LAPD is looking at a separate kidnapping case in 2008 involving the girl's cousins.

Police say the victims were young boys at the time. But there was no mystery about who had taken the boys; their fathers, John and George Silah, served time in prison for the kidnapping them and taking them to the Netherlands to hide.

LAPD's robbery homicide division has taken over the investigation and is working with the FBI to track down two men believed to be involved. The girl could only describe one of her suspects, saying he was a white male about 18 years old. The second suspect is a male, but she could not describe him any further. Family members told Eyewitness News that investigators took lots of fingerprints at the Northridge home, which may link them to the two men.

The family is in seclusion, but they released a statement Friday that said, "My family and I appreciate everyone's concern about our precious, sweet girl. The police are working hard on the case but are not telling us anything yet. I have faith in God and the justice system. They are going to find those criminals and bring them to justice."

Nearly 12 hours after the young girl was reported missing, she was spotted at a Starbucks on Canoga Avenue and Oxnard Street at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday. She told police two men had kidnapped her from her home in the 8000 block of Oakdale Avenue and then dropped her off at a Kaiser hospital near the location where she was found.

"We're talking about a 10-year-old girl, and so she's been through a traumatic experience," said LAPD Capt. Andrew Smith. "She's discussed that there were several vehicles and several individuals involved."

The intruder was able to enter a backdoor and find his way to where the girl slept. Family members told Eyewitness News that the girl's bedroom sits between her brother and parents' bedrooms and that her door is always closed.

Police say the girl was taken to two locations -- an abandoned house and a storage facility -- before being dropped off near the hospital. Smith said it remains unclear whether the victim was chosen at random, or whether she was a specific target.

"Right now, we're looking at this as a stranger abduction," Smith said.

Police were careful about the details released in the apparent abduction.

"Detectives don't want to talk about it specifically, how the individual entered the house. They don't to discuss the intimate details of which room she was in," Smith said.

Police say they are following all possible leads, including searching through video from surveillance cameras near the 10-year-old's house in hopes of finding out more about the brazen kidnappers.

"It's very rare that someone will come into a home and abduct a child. More often than not, when you have a case like this, and a child gets abducted, they end up getting killed. We're very fortunate that she's still alive in this incident," Smith said.

Police are looking into whether there's a connection with a break-in that happened at a house about a block away, which occurred at about the same time the girl went missing.

A black pickup truck believed to be part of the case was recovered at the storage facility Wednesday night. Authorities also said they believed a second vehicle was involved.

Residents in the neighborhood where the abduction happened remain in a state of shock and fear. Amanda Velasquez, who lives behind the victim's house, said she kept checking on her children during the night and checking the locks at the house.

"My 8-year-old's scared. She was in my room last night, sleeping on an air mattress because she didn't want to sleep in her bed. She didn't want to be alone," Velasquez said.

The investigation is ongoing. Authorities urge anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD Robbery Homicide Tipline at (213) 486-6890.


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