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Nation IN BRIEF / FLORIDA

Girl, 10, Missing for Days Found at Store

March 10, 2000|From Times Wire Reports

Three days after she was abducted as she got off her school bus, a 10-year-old girl walked alone into a Wal-Mart 25 miles from her rural home near Gainesville, Fla., and asked for help--ending her ordeal but not the mystery of what happened to her. A short time after the Wal-Mart employees called police, Jessica Rodriguez jumped into her mother's arms and was smothered with hugs and kisses, Sheriff David Turner said. Investigators said they believe the child was dropped off outside the Wal-Mart by her captor, but it was still unclear what happened to her while she was missing. Authorities were searching for the man they believed grabbed her from her driveway. "She's fine, she's talking to mom. She's in good condition," Turner said. "She's one tough, strong little girl. She was very happy to see her mother."

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