A 12-year-old New York girl who disappeared Wednesday and became the subject of an AMBER Alert was found safe Friday.
According to the Albany Times Union, the AMBER Alert for Malaya Johnson was canceled at 1 p.m. after police confirmed she was with family. Since then, George Torres, 19, was charged with kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the 12-year-old’s disappearance.
Police said the pair met online and Torres drove to the Washington County village and picked up Johnson after school without her parents’ permission. He then drove to Staten Island, according to the newspaper.
Authorities issued an AMBER Alert for Johnson on Thursday. Torres allegedly left the 12-year-old at the Staten Island Ferry the same day. New York police reportedly tracked Torres and a passenger a short time later. WABC said NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said the passenger was released after questioning.
Police said Johnson contacted her family to tell them she’s “OK” before the alert was canceled. Upon arriving in Staten Island, the tween reportedly called her family and informed them that she wasn’t coming back home.
Shea said Torres claimed he initially thought Johnson was older than 18 but it “became clear that was untrue” upon picking her up.
Torres is being held without bail. A temporary order of protection bars him from contacting the 12-year-old.
[Featured image: Malaya Johnson/New York State Police; George Torres/Washington County Sheriff’s Office]