Updated Tuesday, 12/17/19 at 7:25 PM ET: Just hours after soliciting the public for information about the disappearance of 16-year-old Karol Sanchez, the NYPD is now investigating the alleged kidnapping as a hoax.
Disturbing footage taken Monday night showed Karol and her mother approached by a car as they were walking in the Bronx. Suddenly, a car pulled alongside them and two men leaped out, grabbing Karol and then dragging her into the sedan as her mother attempted to fight them off. Police shared the video Tuesday morning and pushed out an Amber Alert to help locate the teenage girl. But as The New York Times—citing a police official—writes, shortly after reappearing near the location of her abduction on Tuesday afternoon, Karol confessed to staging the kidnapping in response to “her difficult relationship with her mother.”
The Times’ source said Karol described her mother as “overprotective,” and that her family, originally from Honduras, was considering moving back. But Karol wanted to stay in the U.S., which law enforcement believe could have spurred her to set up the hoax.
Karol and the two men who took her could face criminal charges, police say.
Updated Tuesday, 12/17/19, at 2:53 PM ET: Police say 16-year-old Karol Sanchez, who surveillance footage showed apparently being kidnapped as she was walking with her mother in the Bronx Monday, has been reunited with her family.
Not much information has been shared about the circumstances of Karol’s disappearance, but police say she was located in the Bronx, “safe and unharmed,” according to Twitter.
Video of Karol leaving the police precinct near where she was abducted showed her looking visibly distraught.
Residents across New York City received an Amber Alert Tuesday morning about the disappearance of 16-year-old Karol Sanchez, who police say was kidnapped by four men as she was walking with her mother.
According to the New York Times, Karol was walking with her mom at about 11:20 p.m. in the Bronx near East 156th Street, when a beige four-door sedan approached them. The car stopped alongside them and two men hopped out, grabbed Karol and dragged her inside the vehicle. Video taken from a nearby security camera shows her mother tried to fight the men off, but she’s pushed to the ground as the car speeds away.
The Amber Alert describes Karol as Afro-Latina, about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds. She has short, black hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a dark blue bubble jacket, a white top, blue jeans and black sneakers. The men who took her appeared to be black and in their twenties, say the NYPD.
Police released the security footage Tuesday morning in hopes that the public could help identify who may have taken Karol—and where she may currently be. Investigators don’t yet have a motive for the kidnapping, and the NYPD is also offering up to $2,500 for information.
New York State Police Trooper Patrick Quinlan said police fear the worst.
“The child was taken under circumstances that lead us to believe she may be in imminent danger of bodily harm and/or death,” Quinlan told CNN.
A family friend of Karol’s, Destiny David, told the Times that she has no idea why Karol may have been targeted.
“We all know each other,” David said of the Bronx Honduran community of which Karol was a part. “We don’t know why they took her. We just want her to be found soon.”