By Michael Janofsky, New York Times
Los Angeles -- A 4-year-old girl who was believed to have
abducted on Sunday was found unharmed today at a medical clinic
miles from where she was last seen.
The police said aides from the clinic called authorities after a
brought the girl, Jessica Cortez, into the clinic for a
Sgt. John Pasquariello of the Los Angeles
Police Department said the aides
recognized the girl as the child who
had been identified in news reports
as missing for two days, and they
also "were suspicious" of the woman who
After the police responded and confirmed that the girl was Jessica,
took the woman into custody for questioning. She was not
and Sergeant Pasquariello said investigators
were trying to learn how she
came into contract with the girl.
The call from the clinic ended an intensive search that began on
night in Echo Park, where Jessica was last seen. By some
left the park with a man, who is still wanted for
questioning. Until Jessica
was found, the police were trying to
determine whether she had been abducted
or whether she had
accidentally fallen into the lake in Echo Park, as her
brother had told the police.
In many abduction cases, police seek the assistance of news agencies
help spread information and descriptions, and officers here said
account for aides at the clinic identifying Jessica and
calling the police.
The police spent much of the day today in neighborhoods around Echo
showing residents a sketch of the man who might have taken
People living nearby said earlier today that they had seen the man in
police sketch periodically over the last several months,
children in a play area.
Jessica's parents, Rafael Cortez and Maria Hernandez, who sell snacks
a cart, told investigators they last saw their daughter on
in the park, where they often allowed their children
to play unattended.
Arriving back at the park after reports that Jessica had been found,
James K. Hahn told reporters tonight, "I am very relieved."