Crime

Missing 9-Year-Old Found In Abandoned House

| by Michael Howard

A 9-year-old girl from Oregon who went missing March 13 has been found and reunited with her family.

Elisa Salmeron was discovered with a suitcase after spending the night in an abandoned house in Gresham, Oregon, along with several other children, two of whom were runaways, KGW reports.

Conflicting police reports indicated that Elisa disappeared some time between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on the night of March 13. Her family said she had gone to take out the trash and failed to return.

"My mom’s having a lot of breakdowns," Elisa's sister Lily told KGW. "It was maybe five minutes and we didn’t see her come back, we thought it was hide and seek as usual, and we couldn’t find her, so, we asked our neighbors if they’ve seen her. Nothing."

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Video released by TriMet -- Portland's main public transportation agency -- showed Elisa at a rapid transit station around 11:30 p.m. that same night.

Police say Elisa bought a train ticket with the help of two people. The three of them then boarded a westbound train and got off together at the 148th Avenue station. It was later discovered the two other people were runaway children.

Elisa was found in a vacant house about 1.5 miles from her home after someone called police and said they saw one of the people from the TriMet video, according to Oregon Live. There were three other children in the house with Elisa when police arrived. Two of them had been reported missing.

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Lt. Adam Baker said Elisa did not know the others when they boarded the train together. One of them reportedly knew the area and suggested that Elisa stay overnight in the abandoned house to avoid danger.

Police interviewed the other children and returned them to their families. They are not facing criminal charges.

"There was no indication of criminal activity or nefarious plan for [the] 9-year-old," Baker said, adding that when authorities found Elisa "she was more scared than anything."

Police could not say why the young girl left her home of her own accord after having packed a rolling suitcase.

"We didn't want to pry into too much with a 9-year-old," Baker explained.

Elisa's family said they had never seen the other children before. Nor had they seen the suitcase Elisa was carrying.

Her mother, Rosa, spoke to KGW about the relief she felt upon seeing her daughter again.

"The thing is, she’s friendly, she’s trusting, and that’s the bad part when you’re trying to protect her," she said. "I gave birth to her, she was a gift. The thing is, I can’t live without her. I don’t want to. She needs to be home."

Source: KGW, Oregon Live / Photo credit: Michael Rollins via KGW, Gresham Police via Oregon Live, Gresham Police Dept./Twitter

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