The reward for a little girl who was abducted from her West Philadelphia elementary school on January 14 is up to $30,000. Investigators are desperate for information.
"This child, this five-year-old, went through an unspeakable experience," said Capt. John Darby. "Things may never return to normal for this child."
Mayor Michael Nutter made a public plea on Thursday, announcing that the City of Philadelphia was adding $10,000 to the reward money.
"We need folks to step up," he said. "Money or not. Step up! Give us some information."
Darby said investigators, both local and federal, have been working around the clock since the little girl was walked right out of Bryant Elementary School by a woman last Monday.
"We've had a number of tips. . .We've conducted numerous interviews. We do not have any specific suspects," Darby said. "We pledge that the police department is going to continue this investigation until we find the perpetrators of this crime."
The first suspect is the woman who entered the little girl's school, told employees she was her mother and then signed her out of class, leaving the school with her. She is described as a dark-skinned black woman in her 20s, standing 5'8" tall, possibly pregnant. She was seen on the school's video surveillance wearing traditional Muslim garb.
The second is a man the woman and victim met up with a few blocks away from Bryant Elementary School on 60th Street and Cedar Avenue. Police say he's a light-skinned, possibly white, male in his late 30s.
Police say the two took the girl to a home nearby, forced her to undress, blindfolded her and eventually dropped her off in an Upper Darby park on a cold night. She was found by a good Samaritan named Nelson Mandela Myers less than 24 hours later, shivering and wearing only a t-shirt.
While she was missing, a $10,000 reward was offered to find her. Mayor Nutter is giving that money to Myers for rescuing the victim.
An additional $10,000 was offered by the Fraternal Order of Police and the Citizens Crime Commission to help police solve the case. Thursday morning, that amount doubled when the NAACP, Black Clergy and other African American Leaders added $10,000, and then tripled to $30,000 with the money the city kicked in.
"We need to find these folks. We cannot have this type of activity or behavior in our city," Nutter said.