Missing 8 Days, Teen Found in Closet at Friend's Home

California cops arrest 2 for child endangerment
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2020 2:39 AM CST
Missing 8 Days, Teen Found Hiding in Closet
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Evgen_Prozhyrko)

A 14-year-old girl went to spend a few nights at a friend's house in California's Calaveras County and was nowhere to be found when her grandmother came to pick her up Oct. 22. On Oct. 30, police found her hiding in a closet at the friend's home. Authorities searching there found a trapdoor that led to a dirt-floor area under the Sacramento-area house where police say she had apparently been sleeping, the Los Angeles Times reports. Isaiah Haggard, 20, and his mother, Annie Pearl Abernathy, 41, were arrested and charged with felony child endangerment, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and providing false information to a peace officer. Jose Tinocopureco, 34, was arrested on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and providing false information to a peace officer, but has since been released.

The adults at the home told the girl's grandmother she had already left the home, and the girl's family immediately alerted police. Sheriff's deputies interviewed Abernathy, Haggard, and Tinocopureco (a tenant at the home) and were told they'd last seen the girl "walking down the driveway." The homeowners later asked law enforcement to protect them from "harassment" from the girl's family, members of which occasionally drove by. "They were painting themselves as the victims when they were, in fact, victimizing," a sergeant says. Detectives searched the home right away, then returned due to "new information" eight days later. They found the girl next to a crossbow, "deep within the corners of two adjoining closets as she was intentionally hiding amongst densely hanging clothes." She was unharmed. It's not clear why she was in the closet or whether she was being concealed, but the suspects lied to authorities about the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, authorities tell CBS Sacramento. (More California stories.)

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