Saturday, September 23, 2023

Missing Edmonton girl Leila Smith found safe in Oregon

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A 13-year-old Edmonton girl who went missing more than a week ago has been found in Oregon.

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Edmonton Police said in a news release that Leela Smith was found Saturday morning. His family has been notified and arrangements are being made to bring him back to Edmonton.

Police said the teen was taken to Children’s Hospital in Oregon for a precautionary check-up.

A 41-year-old man from Oregon has been arrested and charged with luring children, the release said. Other charges may be added as the investigation continues.

A family friend said in an email to Postmedia that Smith’s family was traveling to Oregon to visit the teenager.

“They are getting on a plane as we speak … but please know that we are very grateful for everyone’s help and support.”

Smith went missing after going to school on June 24.

Edmonton police are holding a news conference later Saturday morning to provide more information about how the girl was found. Several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were involved in the search.

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“This investigation is a successful one thanks to a number of partners involved, including several specialized Edmonton Police Service units as well as Alert (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams), Northern Alberta ICE Unit, RCMP, Abbotsford Police, US Customs and Border Patrol. CBSA, Gladstone Police (Oregon), Oregon City Police and the FBI,” the EPS release said.

The release did not provide further details about where the teen was found in Oregon, or how he crossed the border.

Edmonton police have faced questions as to why an Amber Alert was not issued in the case.

“In the early stages of this investigation, there was no evidence to suggest she was with anyone, so this file did not meet the criteria,” said Staff Sgt. James Vanderland of the Historical Crimes Section of EPS said in the release.

“An Amber Alert was being prepared when we confirmed the credible tip of the suspect’s identity, his location and his vehicle details; however, we were advised that the suspect was no longer in Canada so an Amber Alert was no longer possible.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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