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Officers Find Abducted Girl, Mother at a Rest Stop in San Diego County

September 01, 2002|CARA MIA DiMASSA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Nine-year-old Cierra Walden, who was abducted by her mentally disturbed mother from a foster care facility on Wednesday, was recovered Saturday in San Diego County by California Highway Patrol officers acting on an Amber alert tip.

According to a CHP spokesman, Steve Lopez, two men, one of them an off-duty corrections officer, spotted a blue Hyundai Accent about 8 a.m. at the Buckman Springs Rest Stop on Interstate 8.

The car matched the description of the one listed on the Amber alert that the men, who were on a boating trip, had seen on an activated board in Chula Vista, about an hour west of the rest stop.

Lopez said that the men could see that a woman and a girl were in the car. They tried to make contact with the mother, Pamela Rose Walden, Lopez said, and when they saw that she was upset, they used their pickup truck and its boat trailer to block the Hyundai.

The men called 911 on a cell phone, Lopez said. A CHP officer who arrived a few minutes later arrested Walden without incident and recovered Cierra and her white poodle.

Cierra "is doing fine" Lopez said Saturday afternoon. "She had breakfast, she watched TV, and now she's coloring."

Pamela Walden, 50, apparently abducted Cierra from a foster care facility in Madera after telling health officials she was communicating with God through a computer chip placed in the girl's head. The mother also insisted that someone was trying to kill the girl and to blame Walden.

Friday evening, truckers who had seen the Amber alert about Cierra on roadside signs spotted the Hyundai and tried to surround it. But Walden got away.

Bakersfield police said they were sending detectives to San Diego to retrieve the girl and her mother separately. Pamela Walden will be booked into the Kern County Jail. Cierra was in protective custody in Kern County, police said.

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