CARSON (CNS) - A 16-year-old girl who disappeared from her family's Carson home on New Year's Day, prompting repeated pleas to the public for help locating her, has been found, sheriff's officials said Monday.
No details about where or how Alinka Angeline Castaneda was found, or the circumstances of her extended disappearance, were immediately released.
"Thank you to the public, the media, Aero Bureau, and deputy personnel for their tireless efforts in the search for Ms. Castaneda," the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement Monday announcing that Alinka had been located.
According to her family, Alinka was last seen outside the family's home in the 23000 block of South Caroldale Avenue around 5 a.m. Jan. 1.
At a recent news conference, Alinka's family and investigator Moses Castillo -- a former police detective who was helping the family with the search -- released footage from a Ring camera showing an unknown male approaching Alinka that morning just before she disappeared.
"Maybe she came out to wish somebody a happy new year, give them a happy new year hug, and then something went sideways from there," Castillo said. "I don't know."
The family said she disappeared without her cell phone or any other possessions. According to the family, the teen called two weeks later and spoke to her younger sister -- a call that authorities traced to the Venice area.
"The sister said Alinka sounded scared in her voice, and that she didn't know where she was, but said that they (won't) let her go," Castillo said at the time.
In late February, the teen called again, saying she was at Union Station and would be home that night, but she never arrived.
Castillo said the family feared their daughter was being held against her will, possibly by gang members who were trafficking her.
Castillo declined to comment Monday afternoon about the circumstances of the girl's discovery, referring inquiries to the sheriff's department, which did not immediately offer any additional details.
A $100,000 reward for information leading to the teen had been on offer. It was unclear if anyone will be able to claim the money.
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