Albuquerque police have released the lapel camera footage from the officer who located a 3-year-old girl early Sunday morning who had been missing for hours after the car she was inside was stolen from a grocery store parking in Northeast Albuquerque.
Officer Daren DeAguero said Caraline Leon-Alcocar was found “very cold and very scared” in an empty parking lot near Indian School and San Mateo around 1 a.m. Sunday.
He said she was found alone “out there by herself in freezing temperatures with just a little jacket on.” Police haven’t located a suspect.
Rescue workers evaluated her at the scene and then took her to the hospital.
DeAguero said Leon-Alcocar was taken from the Smith’s Food and Drug parking lot at 6001 Lomas NE around 8:30 p.m. Saturday while in her mother’s car.
He said Leon-Alcocar’s mother stopped at Smith’s and was filling up water jugs outside, when a man got into the running vehicle and drove away with the child still buckled up inside.
DeAguero said police located the car Leon-Alcocar had been taken in at the Savers parking lot at Menaul and Carlisle early Saturday night, but she was no longer inside.
The girl was found at around 1 a.m. in the Pinetree Corporate Center parking lot as officers searched commercial buildings, parking lots and residential areas, DeAguero said.
The suspect is described as a 25-30 year old Hispanic man, approximately 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall and between 190 and 200 pounds, police said. He has short brown hair and was wearing a dark-colored jacket and blue jeans. He was last seen at 8:36 p.m. near Menaul and Carlisle.
Police sent images that show the suspect and another man standing in the Smith’s parking lot. DeAguero said officers are seeking the second man, who is shown wearing a Raiders jacket, for questioning.
He said that officers will interview Leon-Alcocar to see whether she is able to provide additional information about the man.
“As soon as we get her warmed up, make sure she’s OK, reunite her with her mother and everything, they’ll probably question her,” he said.
DeAguero said that the department held swing shift officers over to assist in the search and that off duty officers joined in the efforts, too.
“None of these officers could go to sleep knowing that there’s a missing kid out here,” he said. “Right now everybody’s just overwhelmed that she’s fine.”
Crews of volunteers went door-to-door, accompanied by police, to search for Leon-Alcocar, DeAguero said.
“We had excellent support from the community,” he said. “You know, we had people calling into dispatch, asking how they could help.”