Police are searching for a suspect who kidnapped a 2-year-old girl from a carwash in Gardena, California last week.
The girl’s mother told police she was at a self-service car wash with the toddler and her 11-year-old daughter at around 5 p.m. Thursday. She had her back turned when she heard the younger child scream “Mommy,” Gardena police Chief Ed Medrano told ABC 7. When she turned around, the toddler had disappeared.
At around 7:30 p.m., some witnesses saw someone in a white Nissan Altima drop the 2-year-old off near an intersection in Cudahy, a town about 30 minutes away from Gardena, the Daily Breeze reports.
“The suspect in this case is a child predator who targeted an innocent 2-year-old toddler and then cowardly dropped her off in an empty, dark parking lot miles away from her family,” Gardena police Lt. Steve Prendergast told the Daily Breeze.
Witness Claudia Robles told KTLA that she and her boyfriend were walking into Jim’s Burgers in Cudahy when they spotted the toddler sitting naked in the parking lot. She said the girl was covering her eyes and had scratches on her legs.
Police said the girl was “injured,” but are not releasing details on her injuries.
“She was holding on to me and she didn’t want anyone getting close to her,” Robles told KTLA. “It was actually very hard when [police] took her away, she was just screaming and handing her hand to me like not to let her go.”
Security footage from a restaurant near the car wash shows a white, four-door Nissan Altima — matching the vehicle spotted dropping the toddler off — driving behind the car wash “very close” to the time the girl was abducted, Medrano told KTLA.
Anyone with information is asked to call Gardena police at 310-323-7911.