Infant abducted in car theft in Van Nuys is found safe, LAPD says


An 11-month-old boy was found safe Tuesday afternoon, hours after the car he was sitting in was stolen in the Van Nuys area, police said.

The child was found in the car after an “alert citizen” contacted police, Capt. Lillian Carranza of the LAPD’s Van Nuys Division said on Twitter. Paramedics were called to the scene as a precautionary measure, she said.

The boy was seated in a white 2001 Infiniti G20 in the 15400 block of Gault Street when it was stolen around 10 a.m., according to an LAPD spokeswoman. The vehicle was running and unattended at the time of the theft.


The suspect was identified as Maria Elizabeth De La Torre, who is wanted on suspicion of kidnapping and grand theft auto, police said. She is described as 5 feet tall and 130 pounds and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a pink shirt. Authorities said she is known to frequent the area of Sepulveda Boulevard and Sherman Way.

It was not immediately clear if the thief knew the child was inside, and police are still trying to determine if the incident was a car theft or an intentional kidnapping.

An LAPD spokesman could not immediately say where the vehicle was found, but said the child “appeared to be OK.”

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Van Nuys Station at 818-374-9500.


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11:10 p.m.: This article was updated with information about a suspect.

12:40 p.m.: This article was updated with information about the child’s recovery.

This article first published at 11:45 a.m.