Missing children return home safe

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first_imgPACOIMA – As soon as Ameer Hack spotted his mom at the door of the van, his eyes lit up. “Mommy, Mommy!” the 4-year-old cried as his mother, Lucrecia Castillo, wrapped her arms around him. Tears streamed down Castillo’s face at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, when she saw her two children – Ameer and Elaine, 8 – for the first time since early Sunday. They were reunited in the parking lot of the LAPD’s Foothill Community Police Station, ending a bizarre three-day stretch that began when the children disappeared with their baby sitter and neighbor, Bertha Galvan, 60, and ended when Galvan and the kids walked into a California Highway Patrol station 115 miles away. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Police were trying to decipher Galvan’s explanation for the ordeal – that she missed her exit on the Golden State Freeway and kept driving north until she ran out of gas. “There are still more questions than answers,” Los Angeles police Capt. Jerry Szymanski said. “How did a person drive an extra 100 miles? That’s a good question. We don’t know yet.” It was 1:30 a.m. Sunday when Castillo asked Galvan to drive the children to Galvan’s Tujunga residence from a house in South Los Angeles. Castillo was visiting friends there and wanted to stay longer. She told Galvan she would pick the kids up in the morning. When she arrived at Galvan’s house at 7 a.m., though, nobody was home. Tuesday, Galvan told police she had been driving the children home and missed her exit on Interstate 5. Confused, she kept driving north until she ran out of gas in a McDonalds parking lot in Buttonwillow, near Bakersfield. She told police she and the children had stayed inside the car for the previous two days. Tuesday morning, a passerby recognized the car from news reports about the missing children. The stranger bought them breakfast at McDonalds and gave them money for gas, then led them to the closest California Highway Patrol station. “CHP immediately recognized them from everything that we’ve given them and everything that’s been on the news,” LAPD Detective David Escoto said. Galvan and the children did not suffer any injuries, Escoto said. Just an hour before the three arrived at the CHP station, Castillo spoke to reporters, pleading in Spanish for help finding her children. She broke down in tears and was helped out of the room at the LAPD’s Foothill station. She would not speak to reporters after being reunited with the kids. “She’s very depressed,” said Jose Garcia, a family friend. “She (needed) her kids to come home.” Los Angeles Police Department detectives interviewed the children and Galvan on Tuesday afternoon, but Galvan had not been charged with a crime, Szymanski said. Josh Kleinbaum, (818) [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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