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Amber Alert out for missing 4-year-old Vancouver girl


VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) – An Amber Alert has been issued in California for a 4-year-old Vancouver, Washington girl who police believe was abducted by her non-custodial mother.

KATU-TV reports 4-year-old Aranza Ochoa Lopez has been in foster care since 2017, after being removed from her mother’s home. Authorities believe they may be headed to Mexico.

Aranza was on a court-supervised visit Thursday with her mother, Esmeralda Lopez, when police say she was abducted.

Vancouver police say they weren’t contacted for several hours after Lopez and her daughter vanished. It’s unclear how Lopez slipped away.

The California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert on Saturday.

KATU News asked Vancouver police why an Amber Alert was issued days after the girl went missing. They didn’t immediately respond.

Lopez was last seen driving a 2005 Chevy Cobalt with Washington plates “BLK 1552.”

KGW reports Lopez is also a person of interest in an alleged robbery and hostage situation that happened just hours before she disappeared with her daughter.

On Sunday, Vancouver police arrested one suspect, 18-year-old Erick Garcia-Valdovinos, charging him with two counts of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery for his involvement in the incident.

Here’s the Vancouver Police Department’s news release Sunday evening:

Vancouver, Wash. – On October 25, 2018, Vancouver Police were contacted after a passerby located a male Jose Orellana-Gomez, 23, in the area of 3409 NE 62nd Ave in Vancouver. Mr. Orellana-Gomes, when contacted by police, explained that he had been invited to the apartment of acquaintance Esmeralda Lopez- Lopez, on the premise of helping her by providing a ride to Centralia, WA. Shortly after he arrived at her apartment, three unknown males appeared, bound him to a chair, told him they were taking his car and demanded his credit card PIN. The victim was later able to free himself, escape the apartment and seek help.

While Vancouver Police were in the process of executing a search warrant on the apartment of Lopez-Lopez, officers on scene were approached by a CPS worker who reported that his client, Esmerelda Lopez-Lopez had fled with her child, Aranza Ochoa Lopez, during a supervised visit earlier that morning at the Vancouver Mall.

Vancouver Police Major Crime Unit and Digital Evidence Cyber Crime detectives began investigating and learned that Ms. Lopez-Lopez was likely on her way to Mexico with her daughter.

October 27, 2018, Vancouver Police investigators were able to confirm that Ms. Lopez-Lopez, her daughter, and a female teen, who had also been seen with Lopez-Lopez at the mall, had been spotted driving Mr. Orellana-Gomez’ Red Chevy Cobalt – WA license BLK1552. The California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert once the vehicle Lopez-Lopez was driving was confirmed.

On October 28, 2018, Vancouver Police arrested Erick Garcia-Valdovinos, 18, with two counts of Kidnapping I and one count of Robbery I for his involvement in these incidents.

Ms. Lopez-Lopez has not yet been located but authorities in California are working closely with Vancouver Police on this investigation.

The investigation is ongoing and nothing further is available at this time.

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