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Girl, 12, Turns Up at Border

January 01, 2003|Peter Y. Hong | Times Staff Writer

A missing 12-year-old Los Angeles girl who was taken to Mexico by a 30-year-old man was apprehended by INS agents at the San Ysidro port of entry early Tuesday.

The girl, Petra Ponce, was seeing Geranimo Luevanos Galvan, and reportedly agreed to leave with him on Dec. 26, police said. Police considered the case a kidnapping because she is too young to give consent.

Ponce appeared at the border crossing just after midnight Monday and told agents that she was a returning U.S. citizen, said Lauren Mack, an Immigration and Naturalization Service spokeswoman in San Diego.

The girl drew attention from agents because she spoke only Spanish, had no identification and appeared disoriented, Mack said. After checking bulletins, INS agents realized that she was missing from Los Angeles and called the Los Angeles Police Department, Mack said.

LAPD Lt. Stan Ludwig said Galvan apparently drove Ponce to the border, dropping her off on the Mexican side so she could walk into California. Galvan remains at large, police said.

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