4-year-old girl found safe after Amber Alert issued

Witness reported seeing child in trunk of car

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A 4-year-old girl who police say was kidnapped in Coral Gables Monday was found safe at a retail store in Southwest Miami-Dade with her father.

A statewide Amber Alert was issued after a passerby noticed the trunk of a gray 2013 Chevy Impala open and with what appeared to be a child inside in the area of S.W. 57th Avenue and S.W. 40th Street. 

According to police, the driver of the vehicle is the father of the girl who was presumed to be abducted.

The father told police that his daughter lowered the back seat of the vehicle to gain access to the trunk in order to retrieve a water bottle. When the car came to a stop at an intersection, the father opened the trunk, got out of the vehicle and retrieved the water bottle for his daughter. He then continued traveling eastbound on Southwest 40th Street.

Det. Roy Rutland, spokesperson for Miami-Dade police, said the passerby who called police was accurate with her description of what happened, but that nothing criminal was actually happening.

"This child was not abducted. This child was innocently trying to get a bottle of water in the trunk, and the father decided to get out of that car and get that bottled water for her," Rutland said.

Detectives on the case used information from tips, and their own technology, to track down the car.

Rutland said the girl's father initially was overwhelmed when approached by police. He had not seen the Amber Alerts, which are posted on highway signs.

He also did not receive an alert on his phone because he is from Venezuela and his phone has an international number.

Since January, wireless carriers have partnered with the state and federal government to issue Amber Alerts to cell phones that have the required technology. 

The alerts are issued through the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program to millions of cell users nationwide. 

Find out more information about Amber Alerts.