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The Valley

Uncle May Have Fled With Girl, 17

April 24, 2002|MANUEL GAMIZ JR. | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A North Hills man who is obsessed with his 17-year-old niece may have abducted her and taken her out of the country, police and relatives said Tuesday.

Yanira Elizabeth Lozano, a junior at Van Nuys High School, was reported missing Friday from the Van Nuys apartment she shares with her mother, stepfather and five siblings. Relatives said they believe her 43-year-old uncle, Carlos Flores, took her.

"I don't know what's wrong with him," said Lozano's 16-year-old brother, Mario. "He thinks he's in love with her."

Flores was convicted last year of molesting Lozano, and he had threatened to take her to El Salvador, said relatives and Los Angeles police detectives.

Lozano went to the store about 2 p.m. Friday but didn't return home, her brother said.

Earlier on Friday, Lozano had called her mother at work and complained that her uncle had been driving around the apartment in violation of a court-approved restraining order, said Officer Esther Myabe. Police said Flores abducted Lozano a year ago. Her brother said they were found about a month later. Flores pleaded no contest to four counts of having sex with a minor, the district attorney's office said, and was sentenced to a year in jail. The court also ordered him to stay away from his niece, Det. Jack Gray said.

Lozano's parents told police that Flores threatened to take the girl to El Salvador for reporting the molestation, Gray said.

Officers with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the FBI, U.S. Customs and the Border Patrol have been notified that the pair may have fled the country.

Lozano has brown eyes and black hair, is 4 feet 6 and about 130 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white shirt, red pants and a gold bracelet that spelled ''Sweet 15.''

Flores, who is married with two grown sons, was last seen driving a dark gray 1995 Mitsubishi pickup truck. Police ask that anyone with information contact the LAPD Van Nuys Division at (818) 756-8371.

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