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Investigators believe the terrifying kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl captured on surveillance footage in the Bronx may have been a hoax, staged by the missing girl because she wanted to run away, according to multiple reports.
The New York City Police Department announced on Twitter Tuesday that 16-year-old Karol Sanchez had been found alive.
Sanchez reportedly reappeared at the same intersection where she had been snatched a day earlier by four men who forced the 16-year-old into a four-door sedan as her desperate mother tried to fend them off.
The harrowing scene was captured on surveillance footage and an Amber Alert was quickly issued for the missing teen as police began to scour the area.
But on Tuesday afternoon, the teen walked up to two officers stationed at the scene as stunned onlookers watched nearby.
“We were looking at the [missing poster] picture saying, ‘I hope she’s OK,’ and she walked right up,” Akash Singh told The New York Post.
Singh, a construction worker who had been working in the area, went on to tell the news outlet Sanchez was “trembling” and “looked really scared,” when she approached the officers.
“She put her hands on her and knees and she started talking to the cops. They jumped out of the car and put her in,” he said.
Sanchez allegedly confessed to staging the kidnapping because of a difficult relationship with her “overprotective mother,” two officials told The New York Times.
Sanchez’s mother had been considering a move to their native Honduras at the time of the kidnapping and Sanchez had been staunchly against the move, the official said.
Officials also told WNBC that the kidnapping may have been arranged with help from the teen’s boyfriend.
No arrests have been made in the case and Sanchez has been reunited with her family.
Sanchez and her mother, who are from Poughquag, had been in the city for a doctor’s appointment on Monday. As they were walking to a train station around 11:30 p.m. that night, the tan sedan pulled up and two men got out and grabbed the 16-year-old.
Her mother tried to fend the kidnappers off but was thrown to the ground.
Sanchez was pulled into the car—where two other men were waiting—and the vehicle drove off while her frantic mother tried to get help.
“She was just screaming ‘My daughter, my daughter, my God, someone please help me.’ She was screaming hysterically. And I was looking, wondering what was going on. She was just screaming in the street,” one witness said according to WCBS.
The family declined to make any statements to the media as they were leaving the police station Tuesday.
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