Cops seek teen 'person of interest' in West Phillykidnap case

Posted: January 29, 2013

POLICE ARE looking for a teenage girl as a person of interest in the kidnapping of a 5-year-old girl snatched from a West Philadelphia school, where district officials separately announced at a parent meeting Monday night that the principal would be replaced.

The teenager came in contact with the kindergartner at the house where she was held for several hours after her abduction Jan. 14 from Bryant Elementary, at 60th Street and Cedar Avenue, police said. Her captors eventually 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," 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 5-year-old at her," Special Victims Unit Capt. John Darby said.

Darby said that over the weekend, investigators again took the little girl to the neighborhood surrounding the school and determined that after she was abducted, she and her kidnapper walked possibly to Larchwood Avenue past 62nd Street, about three blocks from the school. 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."

At the parent meeting Monday night, school district officials said principal Roy McKinney would be reassigned to an undetermined school and that four school staffers would face disciplinary hearings.

Michael Rosenberg, a veteran school administrator, will take McKinney's place, said district spokesman Fernando Gallard, who added that the principal's reassignment was not intended as discipline.

Meanwhile, the reward for tips leading to an arrest and conviction was increased to $80,000.

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

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

- Staff writer Derrick Moore

contributed to this report.

On Twitter: @morganzalot


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