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Stolen Toddler Is Found Safe After 8 Hours

March 27, 1987|MARK LANDSBAUM and DANIELLE A. FOUQUETTE | Times Staff Writers

An ailing 14-month-old girl who disappeared Thursday afternoon from a Garden Grove day-care center was located eight hours later at the home of a teen-age couple who lived nearby, police said.

A door-to door search by teen-age Explorers led to discovery of the child, police said, and the couple who lived at the home where she was found were taken into custody.

The infant's parents were reunited with the child, who was found shortly after 11 p.m., and police said that the toddler would be taken to a hospital for a medical examination.

Police Lt. Scott Hamilton said that one of the Explorer teams involved in the search located a witness who said they had seen the baby at a house in the 12800 block of Topaz Street. Police who found the child there said that she appeared to be in good condition.

Taken into custody at the Topaz residence were a woman identified by police as Darlene Johnson, 18, and a male juvenile, whose name could not be released, Hamilton said. He said the couple were being held for questioning but that no decision had been made on whether either would be booked. There was no indication of a motive, Hamilton said.

Earlier, witnesses had reported an abduction after seeing a woman leave the center with the child, Victoria Marie Clark, who requires medication for a severe ear infection, Garden Grove Police Investigator Pam French said.

The child had been last seen shortly before 3 p.m. as she slept in a crib at the Young Horizons day-care center, in the 6200 block of Cerulean Avenue, Police Lt. Ken Whitman said.

The baby's father, engineer Matthew Clark, 29, was at work in Redondo Beach when the disapperance occurred. His wife, Debbie, 30, an accountant,was at work in Los Angeles at the time.

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