Missing girl from British Columbia found safe

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A missing 11-year-old girl was found safe on Thursday around 5 a.m. PDT after disappearing May 16 while riding her scooter to a local video store near the north Okanagan town of Armstrong, British Columbia. Carmen Kados left home on her regular two kilometer trip to the local store around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. She wasn't seen again after leaving the store around 7:15 p.m.

Carmen's mother called authorities and reported the young girl missing around 8:45 p.m. -- police located her scooter, a cell phone and the video she had rented in a parking lot near the store. Other possessions were found but exact details were not disclosed for investigative purposes, according to Corporal Henry Proce, spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

"The first 24 hours, the first 48 hours, are crucial and as more time elapses you become more and more fearful of a worst-case scenario," Proce said.

A wide net was cast in hopes of locating Kados -- police and as many as 65 search and rescue volunteers searched the largely rural area, scouring railroad tracks, streams, and parking lots. The girl and her alleged abductor were located separately around 5 a.m. Thursday. The suspect in the abduction was identified as a transient known to police. Police indicate that community involvement, including tips and a description of the abductor, were instrumental in locating the suspect.

Kados was brought to Vernon Jubilee Hospital, and her parents joined her there. Police reported she had been injured, but the injuries were not life threatening. Both Kados and her parents are traumatized by the incident; spokesman Proce did not expect they would be making a public statement soon.

"I think anybody that's a parent can only begin to imagine how it must feel not to know where your child is," said Proce. "This is a little 11-year-old girl and to not know where she is even for an hour, never mind 36 hours, would be something only a few of us can even imagine."