Amber Alert issued in Phoenix child abducted

Liz De La Torre

From The Associated Press

PHOENIX – A massive manhunt was under way Friday after authorities said a man abducted a 5-year-old girl at a north Phoenix apartment complex.

Police received a call at about 2:15 p.m. that Natalie Flores had been taken, Sgt. Andy Hill said. Officers responded and determined she was abducted by a stranger.

An Amber Alert was issued, and police, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children all joined the search.

“We are hoping and praying for a Christmas miracle as we diligently continue to try and find Natalie,” Hill said.

He said Natalie was playing in a common area at the complex with her two sisters, ages 7 and 9, when a man parked his brown pickup in a nearby parking lot and walked over to them carrying a camera.

“He physically grabbed the 7-year-old girl and forcibly took a photo of her,” he said.

The man then forced Natalie into the truck — possibly a Ford Ranger with a ladder rack and an Arizona license plate similar to 3HG377, 3HG774N or 3HJ377 — and drove away.

Witnesses reported that as the man was fleeing, he hit a parked car before entering southbound 19th Avenue.

“At that point, we had a couple of adult witnesses there who saw the suspect and the girl inside the truck with him,” Hill said.

Natalie and her sisters have been staying at an apartment in the complex with an aunt, who apparently has legal custody of them, and the aunt’s boyfriend, Hill said. The girls’ parents live separately out of state.

The suspect is described as a white man, between 30 and 40 years old, with blond or white hair. He is 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9 and weighs 180 to 190 pounds. He was wearing a gray shirt and peach knee-length shorts.

Natalie is 4 feet tall and weighs about 60 pounds. She has red, shoulder-length hair and freckles. She was last seen wearing a pink top with blue stretch pants and pink and white tennis shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Phoenix police Silent Witness program, 800-343-8477.