Suspect Dead, Teen Missing After Calif. Kidnapping

Car was spotted 300 miles south of where girl was last seen
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 27, 2016 5:07 AM CDT
Suspect Dead, Teen Missing After Calif. Kidnapping
This photo provided by the California Highway Patrol shows Fernando Castro.    (California Highway Patrol)

A young man suspected of abducting a teenage girl in Northern California was killed Thursday after leading sheriff's deputies on a high-speed chase and engaging in a shootout, authorities say. The girl is still missing. Fernando Castro, 19, whose car had been the subject of an Amber Alert for 15-year-old Pearl Pinson, exchanged gunfire with deputies at a Santa Barbara County mobile home park more than 300 miles south of Vallejo, where she was last seen, Solano County Sheriff Thomas Ferrara tells the AP. Authorities have been frantically searching for Pinson since a witness reported hearing a girl screaming for help as a man dragged her across a freeway overpass on Wednesday morning.

The witness reported seeing a girl with a bleeding face pleading for someone to help her as a man armed with a handgun pulled her along. Officials say the witness ran for assistance and heard a gunshot. "We continue to look for her and we are very worried for her safety," Ferrara tells the Los Angeles Times. "We are going to continue searching." Authorities describe the two teens as acquaintances, but they stress that they believe Pinson was taken unwillingly. The sheriff's department says Santa Barbara sheriff's deputies spotted Castro's gold Saturn sedan late Thursday afternoon. When the deputies pursued the car, the driver shot at them before crashing in a mobile home park in the town of Solvang. He ran into a mobile home and was shot dead in an exchange of fire with deputies after he emerged and tried to steal another vehicle. (More California stories.)

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