Toronto police find missing six-year-old girl nearly 15 km from home - InfoNews

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Toronto police find missing six-year-old girl nearly 15 km from home

Jasmine Williamson is shown in a Toronto Police Sevice handout photo.Toronto police say they're searching for a six-year-old girl missing from the city's east end. Const. David Hopkinson says Jasmine Williamson was last seen at 1 a.m. this morning by an unidentified caregiver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Toronto Police Service MANDATORY CREDIT
April 11, 2018 - 5:20 AM

TORONTO - Two women have been charged following a search for a missing six-year-old girl that came to a puzzling but positive end when she was found nearly 15 kilometres from her home hours after she disappeared, Toronto police said Tuesday.

Supt. Mark Barkley was tight-lipped about the circumstances around both the girl's early morning disappearance from her east-end Toronto apartment building and her reappearance in a completely different part of the city hours later.

Hours later, however, police said two women had been arrested and charged in connection with the case.

One woman has been charged with public mischief and the other with obstructing a peace officer. Police said both women, who cannot be identified in order to shield the identity of the child, are scheduled to appear in court at a later date.

Barkley said police were able to locate the girl alone after she approached a bystander. At that time, police were conducting a full-scale search for the girl in her home neighbourhood, using officers, police dogs and horses to scour the area around where she was last seen

"Our investigation continues at this time because we have far more questions than answers," Barkley told a news conference. "And we want answers to make sure that we can identify where she went to, why she went there, who she may or may not have been with ... and of course ensure that nothing untoward may have happened to the child while she was away."

Barkley also clarified details that had emerged in previous police communications throughout the day.

Police previously reported that the girl had last been seen in bed, clad in grey pyjama bottoms and a green and white pyjama top. They indicated that she had gone missing some time between then and 7:40 a.m., when police were first summoned to the home where she lived with her mother.

Barkley said the girl's absence was in fact first noticed around 5 a.m.

He also contradicted previous police information that the girl had gone missing without a coat and shoes, saying she was "dressed appropriately for the weather" when she was found shortly before 1 p.m.

Barkley said the girl was examined by paramedics and is in good condition.

"We're always relieved to find that a child has been located safely," he said. "The most important thing is the well-being of the missing person."

He said prior to the arrests of the two women that police were not seeking any suspects in relation to her disappearance from the home and said there was no public safety concern, but emphasized that the investigation was ongoing. The Children's Aid Society has been contacted in relation to the case, he added.

The search for the girl, which began Tuesday morning with an initial focus on the girl's apartment building, escalated throughout the day to a "level three." Police described the operation as the highest level search available to the force under the circumstances, which did not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert.

Officers and police dogs began by combing the area around the apartment building on Gilder Drive, near Midland Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East, where the girl was last seen.

As police expanded their search area and deployed extra resources, community members also joined the effort by printing and distributing flyers showing the girl's face.

Barkley said the girl was eventually found outside near the intersection of Bathurst Street and Eglinton Avenue West, about 14 kilometres from her home.

An Amber Alert was never issued for the girl, as her disappearance lacked some of the key characteristics that must be in place in order for the special bulletin to be issued. A child under 18 has to have been abducted, the child must be believed to be in imminent danger, and police must have a description of either a suspect or a suspect vehicle.

Police said they never had evidence to indicate the child's disappearance on Tuesday was suspicious and were not aware of anyone who may have been involved.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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