Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsChildren

THE STATE

Missing Riverside Girl Found Safe in Nevada

Crime: A former baby-sitter is arrested after his truck is spotted by tribal police. The 10-year-old is 'in excellent condition.'

August 21, 2002|ERIC MALNIC and TINA DIRMANN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A former baby-sitter was arrested and the 10-year-old girl he is suspected of abducting hours earlier in Riverside was recovered in good condition Tuesday when a tribal police officer stopped the man's pickup on a reservation in Nevada.

"She was extremely glad to see me," said Ray East, the Walker River Indian Reservation policeman who stopped the pickup. "She's in excellent condition."

East said the suspected abductor, 68-year-old Glenn Park, a friend of the girl's family and her occasional baby-sitter, surrendered peacefully.

The police officer said the suspect was being taken to the Mineral County jail in Hawthorne, Nev., where authorities plan to hold Park pending the filing of any charges.

East said Nichole Taylor Timmons was dressed in a blue Powerpuff Girls T-shirt, blue shorts and flip-flops.

Late Tuesday, Riverside police were making plans to fly Sharon Timmons to Reno for a reunion with her daughter.

Nichole disappeared from the family home in Riverside sometime between midnight Monday, when her mother looked in on the girl as she slept, and 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Detectives found that a chain used to fasten a backyard gate had been cut, according to Riverside Police Lt. John Wallace.

Wallace said information he could not reveal led detectives to suspect immediately that the girl had been abducted.

The detectives were tight-lipped, but neighbors said Park, who had worked as a gardener and baby-sitter for Timmons, liked to keep the girl by his side, often with his arm around her, when she visited him at the nearby apartment house where he lived.

Nichole's classmates said Park often brought treats such as cupcakes and candy to be shared in her classroom at Alcott Elementary School.

Several weeks ago, police said, Timmons fired Park, effectively ending his contact with the girl.

"We believe he was possibly distraught with the ending of the relationship," said Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach.

In the early hours of the investigation, police said they wanted to question the girl's father, Ralph Timmons, 41, who divorced Nichole's mother several years ago.

Detectives said they soon cleared the father of any involvement in the girl's disappearance, and their attention focused on Park.

An "Amber alert" on the suspected abduction was broadcast throughout the Southwest, describing 4-foot-6, 100-pound Nichole; 6-foot-2, 200-pound Park; and Park's blue-and-white 1982 Dodge pickup.

By early afternoon, there were reports that the truck had been seen heading north through Central California, Riverside Police officials said.

East said he was patrolling the 20-mile stretch of U.S. 95 that passes through the reservation north of Hawthorne when he heard the alert.

"I was headed south at about 2:45 p.m. when I saw the vehicle, heading north," East said.

East said he quickly made a U-turn and overtook the truck. He then pulled Park over , who was compliant, East said.

As officials in Hawthorne booked Park, residents of the Riverside neighborhood where the abduction occurred talked about what had happened.

Jeri Poling, one of Park's neighbors at the apartment complex where he lives alone, described Park's relationship with the girl as "a little odd."

"She was always right up against him," Poling said. "You start to think, 'Why didn't I say something about that?' "

Six-year-old James Higgins held his father's hand Tuesday as he watched police and members of the news media swarming the neighborhood.

"I was hoping they'd find her tomorrow," James told a reporter.

"But they found her today, and that's such a good thing."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|