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Missing girl: Police examine surveillance video for clues

March 27, 2013|By Richard Winton, Kate Mather and Joseph Serna
  • Nicole Ryan, 10, of Northridge, who disappeared from her home during the night.
Nicole Ryan, 10, of Northridge, who disappeared from her home during the… (LAPD )

This post has been amended, as noted below.

Los Angeles police said they plan to review surveillance video from a Woodland Hills strip mall and surrounding businesses to help determine how a missing 10-year-old girl wound up more than five miles from her home.

Nicole Ryan was found about 3 p.m. near a Starbucks, just as the LAPD and FBI were intensifying their efforts to find her with a door-to-door grid search of a two-mile area around her Northridge home.

Helicopter news footage showed the redheaded girl apparently healthy. She was barefoot and wearing a baggy white T-shirt instead of the black shirt she was last seen wearing.

She was taken to a nearby hospital for an examination, police said.

Nicole Ryan's mother told authorities that she saw her daughter in her bedroom about 1 a.m. Wednesday, but when she checked on her about two hours later, the girl was gone.

Businesses near where Nicole was found said a flurry of activity began about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

A manager of a nearby animation studio, who saw Nicole when he went to a gas station next to Starbucks,  said the girl looked drained.

"Her face was white. She looked very tired and worried," said Nicolas Jackson, manager of Moonscoop. "You could see she had some worries for the past few hours.

Jackson said the girl was sitting at a table outside Starbucks talking with three or four police officers.

Authorities searched the home in the 8800 block of Oakdale Avenue and canvassed the neighborhood but had not found the girl.

LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said there was no sign of forced entry, but the back door of the home was unlocked and a side gate was open.

"Obviously, this is of concern," Smith said. "A child disappeared from their bed in the middle of the night." The girl was found about six miles from her Northridge home at a Woodland Hills strip mall near Starbucks."

[For the record, 4 p.m. March 27: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the girl was found in Canoga Park; she was found in Woodland Hills.]

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kate.mather@latimes.com

richard.winton@latimes.com 

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