Alinka Castaneda, 16, vanished on New Year’s Day. She was recently found safe, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says.
Missing for nearly four months, the circumstances behind the young girl’s absence are still mired in mystery, but an investigator believes that she may have been held captive by an unknown man.
Retired LAPD detective and private investigator Moses Castillo has been working with Castaneda’s family since they received a series of phone calls that led them to believe she was a victim of human trafficking – rather than their initial belief that she had run away.
“In this phone call, she actually shared with her sister and her mom that she didn’t know where she was then and wouldn’t be allowed to leave,” the private eye told NewsNation. “She sounded like she was under duress and stressing out.”
Castillo also previously addressed the presumed kidnapper – saying he knew his name and that the jig was up.
“Dude, we know you have her,” the private eye said. “You’re an adult male; it’s time to just give her up. Bring her to 1200 North State Street in front of the Los Angeles County USC Medical Center; drop her off. You can find me easily on Instagram. Just let me know where you’re going to do that, and I’ll be there to receive her to get her the help she needs.”
Law enforcement did not say whether anyone has been arrested in connection with Castaneda’s disappearance as of this writing.
According to the LASD, she was last seen on Jan. 1 around 5 a.m. on South Caroldale Avenue in Carson, California. She was wearing a black shirt, black sweatpants, and a gold necklace when she disappeared. Her phone had last pinged to a location in the heart of Venice, a press release says.
The girl was caught on a neighbor’s doorbell camera getting into an unidentified vehicle, ABC West Coast flagship station KABC reported.
“There is concern for her well-being,” the LASD added, referring to Castaneda as a “critical missing juvenile.”
Earlier this month, Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes announced the city was offering a $100,000 reward for anyone with information that could lead to Castaneda’s safe return, according to local Fox affiliate KTTV.
“Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Missing Person Unit is advising Alinka Angeline Castaneda has been found,” the official bulletin reads in full.
Law enforcement did not say how the girl was found or reveal any other details about her disappearance.
It is unclear where the girl was dropped off, but there was at least one abortive effort to meet her family in the past, according to KABC. She once reportedly told her mother she would meet at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, but the girl never showed up.
According to Los Angeles-based CW flagship KTLA, the girl has been reunited with her mother, citing officials.
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