Good Samaritan Who Found Missing Philadelphia Girl To Be Rewarded $10K
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The man who helped an abducted girl reunite with her family will receive a $10,000 reward, according to city officials.
Police say the Good Samaritan, identified as 27-year-old sanitation worker Nelson Mandela Myers, found the child early Tuesday morning near the 69th Street SEPTA Transportation Center in Upper Darby.
Investigators believe the child, who was taken from a West Philadelphia school Monday morning and found, was “targeted.”
Authorities say the five-year-old girl was seen being escorted out of Bryant Elementary School at 60th and Cedar Avenue Monday morning by an unknown woman.
Police say Myers — who spoke at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon — was walking to work around 4:30 a.m. found the girl under the bleachers of an athletic field along Marshall Road after he heard her crying.
Listen to the press conference…
“She told [Myers] that she was taken from school,” said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood earlier on Tuesday.
Chitwood say the child was found crying, shivering and wearing only a t-shirt. He asked the Good Samaritan if the girl seemed injured and the man told him it looked like the young girl had cuts on her lip.
The young victim was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for examination and was later released to her family.
Chitwood says in addition to the female suspect, investigators believe a male suspect may also be involved. Chitwood say the young girl told investigators she remembers getting into a car with the female suspect and then going to a home where a male suspect was staying.
Chitwood also said the victim told investigators she escaped from her abductors.
“Basically she says to the Good Samaritan that she ran away from the people that took her,” Chitwood said.
The athletic field where the girl was found by Myers was approximiatey a mile from the girl’s school.
School surveillance video captured a woman dressed in a burqa leaving the school with the girl shortly before 9 a.m. on Monday.
Investigators say the woman did not show ID, but said she was the child’s mother and asked for her by name. The woman told school officials she was taking the girl to breakfast.
During a news conference Tuesday morning, Special Victims Unit Captain John Darby said the child was targeted and that it was not a random abduction.
Darby said the female suspect was possibly pregnant and knew what she had to do when it came to removing the child from the school. The female suspect is described as a black in female in her 20s, between 5’5″-5’6″ and wearing Muslim garb.
Darby said neither of the child’s parents gave permission for the child to be taken out of school.
Capt. Darby said because of the way the young girl was found, Darby said she was partially clothed, she was being screened for a possible sexual assault.
Listen To Podcast Of Capt. Darby’s News Conference:
The School District of Philadelphia is investigating the incident, saying it was a complete breakdown of protocol.
“This is very upsetting,” says spokesman Fernando Gallard, “that an adult was able to walk into a school building, able to go to a classroom, and to pick up a child and say the child has been checked out, and then walk out with the child.”
The investigation is being jointly handled by the Philadelphia Police Department and the Upper Darby Police Department.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Special Victims Unit at 215.685.3251/52/53.
CBSPhilly is no longer identifying the child, who was previously identified via an Amber Alert, because she may be a possible victim of a sexual assault.