Cops seek teen ‘person of interest’ in W. Phila. kidnap case

Posted: January 29, 2013

AFTER TWO WEEKS of investigation and sparse leads, police on Monday announced a reward increase and two developments in the kidnapping case of a 5-year-old girl snatched from a West Philadelphia classroom earlier this month.

In connection with the Jan. 14 abduction of the kindergartner from Bryant Elementary School, at 60th Street and Cedar Avenue, police said they're now looking for a teenage girl with whom the young victim came into contact at the house where she was held for several hours before her captors abandoned her, half-clothed, at an Upper Darby playground early the next morning.

Police described the teen as black, between 14 and 17, with a light complexion and long, straight, black hair. They said the teen, described as a "person of interest" in the case, gave the name "China" or "Chyna" to the little girl and wore a hooded sweatshirt and tights.

"The information we get is really from the glance of the five-year-old at her," Special Victims Unit Capt. John Darby said, adding that the young victim has been interviewed extensively in an effort to develop leads in the case.

Darby said that investigators took the little girl to the neighborhood surrounding the school again over the weekend and determined that after she was taken from school, she walked with her kidnapper as far west as Larchwood Avenue past 62nd Street. Based on that, Darby said, police have homed in on that area.

"[These are] baby steps, but that's OK, because what we're trying to do is narrow the scope of the search," he said. "The direction of flow continues to be westbound on Larchwood, so that was significant."

The reward - put up by the city, the Philadelphia NAACP and community leaders - for tips leading to an arrest and conviction in the case is now $80,000.

Two other people whom police are seeking in the kidnapping are the woman who took the girl - described as black, in her late 20s, 5 feet 5 to 5 feet 8 and thin, with a dark complexion and light, possibly green, eyes. She may be pregnant and wore a dark-colored niqab and face-covering at the time of the abduction. Police said she may go by the name "Rashida."

A man, described as being in his mid-30s, possibly white, with a light complexion and short brown hair, is believed to have met the abductor and the child at a house. He wore sweatpants and a blue, long-sleeve T-shirt.

" @morganzalot


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