Police are whether a 16-year-old girl who was apparently snatched off a New York City sidewalk staged her own kidnapping.
The girl, Karol Sanchez, was with her 36-year-old mom walking on a sidewalk in the Bronx about a mile east of Yankee Stadium at 11:20 p.m. on Monday when a beige-colored four-door sedan pulled up, police said.
Two men grabbed the girl and shoved her into their car before driving away, grainy security video released by the NYPD showed. The clip was plastered across social media and news outlets Tuesday as nationwide concern for the girl grew.
But then at about 2:33 p.m. on Tuesday, the NYPD’s 40th Precinct announced that Sanchez had been found, tweeting: “WE HAVE A VICTORY TODAY !! Karol has been found !!! Thank you to all who have worked very hard to track down the people involved in this case !”
Multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News that authorities are investigating the possibility of whether the incident was a staged kidnapping orchestrated by the girl herself.
Investigators said earlier in the day that the four men appeared to be in their 20s and were wearing dark-colored clothes.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio even joined the efforts to find Sanchez, urging the public to come forward with any information.
“To Karol Sanchez’s family and loved ones, know that the NYPD will not rest until she’s found — and her kidnappers are brought to justice,” he tweeted before she was found.
Officials have told NBC News there is no danger to the community and they’re not asking for the public’s help in locating a suspect at this time.