Abduction scare ends with girl unharmed Eshine Smith, 6, had been reported kidnapped. She and her father walked into a police station hours later.

Posted: July 15, 2005

A massive police search for a 6-year-old Kensington girl believed kidnapped from her home yesterday ended abruptly more than four hours later when she walked into a Chinatown police station with her father.

The abduction - which at its height triggered a house-to-house search by more than 100 police officers, extensive news coverage, and an Amber Alert - was nothing more than a miscommunication between her parents, according to Police Inspector Anthony Boyle.

The search for the little girl began about 1:30 p.m., after Eshine Smith was reported taken from her home in the 3400 block of A Street while in the care of a baby-sitter, according to police.

The baby-sitter, a friend of Eshine's mother and the only other person inside the rowhouse, told police that she saw a man walking away with the child and could not stop them.

Soon after, dozens of officers swarmed the neighborhood in wagons and cars and on foot.

Neighbors flooded police, and reporters, with sometimes conflicting stories of what happened. Some said they had seen a man take Eshine - barefoot and crying - by force.

"I was inside my house when a woman came running up the street saying that they took the girl. We all ran up to the corner looking for her. Everybody came," said Elizabeth Pagan, who lives up the street from Eshine.

One of the neighbors, Pagan said, told police that "she saw the man walking up the street with her. She said she wasn't wearing any shoes, and she was crying."

Other neighbors told police that they saw the two leave in a gray two-door Toyota. And others said Eshine was screaming.

Boyle said that police erred on the side of caution in asking for the state to issue the Amber Alert.

The search was called off shortly after 5 p.m., when the girl walked into the Sixth Police District at 11th and Winter Streets with her father, Boyle said.

The father, who was not identified, said that he saw a news report on television and took his girl to the police.

The parents, Boyle said, shared custody of the child and there was some kind of misunderstanding.

Police said no charges would be filed.

Contact staff writer Ira Porter

at 215-854-2641 or iporter@phillynews.com.

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