Update: Police identify mother who abducted her daughter from Alaska

Glendale police have identified the mother of kidnapped Alaska girl who went missing two years ago and turned up in La Crescenta when officers pulled over a SUV on Thursday for a suspected seatbelt violation, officials said.

The child's biological mother, Cora Francis Malone, 39, and Pablo Lapuente Samaniego, 49, were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a child, according to Glendale Police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot. Samaniego was also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime. The name of the third person in the vehicle was not immediately available.

Police reportedly observed three adults and two girls, a 3-year-old and 7-year-old, in a 1988 White GMC SUV which was traveling eastbound on Foothill Boulevard, near New York Avenue, at about 2:40 p.m., authorities said.

Two people in the car were allegedly not wearing seatbelts, Lightfoot said. During the investigation, officers found out that the 7-year-old child had been abducted by her biological mother from Anchorage, Alaska, in 2011 and brought to California.

Lightfoot said the mother fled with her daughter when she found out the state was going to take possession of her. She is also the biological mother of the 3-year-old, but that child has a different father, Lightfoot said.

The mother was one of the passengers in the vehicle and allegedly indicated that they were homeless and had spent the night in the vehicle and had been living out of motels, Lightfoot said.

The suspects gave officers information that appeared to be suspicious and inconsistent, specifically when asked about the children’s identities, Lightfoot said.

“The (7-year-old) was listed as ‘abducted’ in the computer system when the officers ran the child’s name,” she said.

Officers learned that charges were filed in an abduction case in Alaska and that there was an active warrant for the child’s mother, she said.

Both children were placed into protective custody with the Department of Children’s Services. The Alaska Office of Children’s Services is working on travel arrangements in order to return both children back to Alaska, Lightfoot said.

Investigators in Alaska were aggressively searching for the girl for two years, she said.

Glendale police are continuing an investigation with the Anchorage Police Department and the Alaska Office of Children’s Services.

-- Nicole Charky, nicole.charky@latimes.com

Follow on Twitter: @nicosharki.


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