More than two weeks after a 5-year-old girl was abducted from an elementary school in Cobbs Creek, police released new surveillance video showing a clearer view of the woman who they believe took her.
Normal Neighborhood Rocked by Abduction
The little girl was abducted from the William Bryant Elementary School, at 60th Street and Cedar Avenue, on Jan. 14. Surveillance video shows the woman who told school staff she was the little girl's mother. The woman, who was dressed in Muslim garb, signed the victim out of class and led her out of the school.
Police say a man met up with the woman and victim a few blocks away. Police say the two took the girl to a nearby home, forced her to undress, blindfolded her and eventually dropped her off in an Upper Darby park where she was found shivering, wearing only a T-shirt, by a Good Samaritan the next day.
On Tuesday, police released new surveillance video with a better look at the woman who they believe took the girl. Investigators say the video has two different angles. One angle has a view of the woman walking down 61st and Larchwood, which is the area where investigators believe the girl was taken. Another angle shows the woman leaving the school with the girl while carrying "a very unique umbrella," and a white towel, blanket or coat.
Police took the girl back to Bryant Elementary this past weekend to retrace her steps. While she was there, she told them she remembers meeting a girl named "China" or "Chyna" while she was held captive.
"All we can say at this time is that at some point during her captivity she had contact with this young woman," Special Victims Unit Capt. John Darby told NBC10's Daralene Jones. "This young woman, when asked her name, she identified herself as China, so based on that information, we consider China a person of interest."
Police say "China/Chyna" is a teenage girl, probably between the ages of 14 and 17. She is a thin-built black, light-skinned girl with long, straight black hair. She was last seen wearing a hoody and tights.
The search for "China" led cops to a 25-year-old neighborhood woman who says she told police she knew nothing about the case.
They asked her, "'are you China?' We are looking for some girl named China."
NBC10 also received a tip that investigators recently raided a home near Bryant Elementary. The man who lived at the home told us investigators stormed into his house looking for suspects related to the case but that they had the wrong home.
A visible police presence was outside the school on Tuesday. Two Philadelphia Police officers are now on the grounds, one at the main entrance. Police also met with the school's new principal Michael Rosenburg to discuss new security measures which will include having people swipe in and a picture database of people allowed to pick the students up.
Police believe the woman who took the girl is a dark-skinned (possibly pregnant) black woman in her late 20s, about 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8-inches tall with greenish or light-colored eyes who was wearing dark-colored Muslim clothing and possibly goes by "Rashida." They also believe the person she met with outside the school is a very light-skinned, possibly white man in his mid-30s with short brown hair who wore sweat pants and a blue long-sleeved T-shirt.
Investigators want to get the information out in the community because they believe people who know China may be able to lead them to the abductors. The reward for information that leads police to the capture and conviction of the abductors is now up to $85,000.
"Because of the age of this victim, everyone should be paying attention, and as I said, this child may never return to normal," said Capt. Darby.
Capt. Darby won't get specific, but said last week that the victim endured an "unspeakable experience."
Anyone with information can call Philadelphia police at 215-686-TIPS (8477), the Special Victims Unit at 215-685-3251 or 911. Emails can be sent to: email@example.com