Authorities reportedly discovered a stolen Infiniti that had a baby boy strapped into a car seat. The culprit is still at large, and police are on the lookout for her. Below are details of the case.
On Tuesday (April 3) afternoon, the Los Angeles Police Department found an 11-month-old boy safe in a car. Reportedly, the car and toddler were found hours after the vehicle was stolen from the Van Nuys area.
Once again, our community comes through! An alert person called police and helped us locate the child. Vehicle was also located but the suspect remains at-large https://t.co/8iKVakV7QO
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) April 3, 2018
According to reports, the sedan was stolen around 10:00 a.m. from the 15400 block of Gault Street, near Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys. Initially, the LAPD believed it to be a carjacking.
After the car was reported stolen, officials started a search for the child and vehicle. The sedan was described as a white 2001 Infiniti G-20, license plate number 4SDK433.
Please help us locate 11 month old LEO. He was kidnapped from 15400 block Gault St. Unattended running vehicle 2001 Infiniti G20 white in color California Plates 4SDK433 @lapdVanNuysDiv @911LAPD @LAPDHQ pic.twitter.com/6YNYvuBfza
— LAPD Van Nuys Div. (@lapdVanNuysDiv) April 3, 2018
How the Baby Was Found
Two hours after the search began, the child was found in the abandoned car on the 15000 block of Enadia Way by a plumbing crew. The vehicle’s windows were down, and the boy was taken to a hospital for an examination. He was later reunited with his mother.
Authorities revealed that the child’s mother went to her babysitter’s house to pick another of her children up, leaving the boy inside with the engine running.
Asking only to be known as Paula, she said, “I was just praying and hoping for the best, and that God would find him.”
Who Is the Suspect?
The suspect is Maria Elizabeth De La Torre. She is known to police in the area, and was reportedly contacted by authorities. Though she allegedly agreed to turn herself in, police say she failed to do so, and stopped answering her phone.
Officials claim that De La Torre had a fight with her boyfriend, and likely saw the running car but did not notice the child inside. The suspect’s image was released by police, and she is now wanted on charges of grand theft auto and kidnapping.
Maria Elizabeth De La Torre is wanted for Kidnap and Grand Theft Auto. She’s 5 feet tall, 130 lbs. Last seen wearing blue jeans & a pink shirt. She’s known to frequent the area of Sepulveda Blvd & Sherman Way. Any info call Van Nuys Station (818) 374-9500 pic.twitter.com/3zMCbgwIpm
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) April 4, 2018
Police described De La Torre as a 5’0″ Hispanic woman who weighs 130 pounds. She has black hair, brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a pink shirt and blue jeans. The LAPD tweeted a picture of her, and are still trying to determine whether or not the kidnapping and car theft were crimes of opportunity.
She has a rap sheet that includes arrests for narcotics and domestic violence.
A detective related to the case also added that a felony warrant will be issued for her arrest. She reportedly regularly visits the area of Sepulveda Boulevard and Sherman Way.
Authorities urged anybody who may know her or has information about her to get in touch with the LAPD’s Van Nuys Station at (818) 374-9500 during business hours. On weekends or after office hours, calls can be made to (877) LAPD-24-7. Additionally, anonymous information can be given via Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.