Alinka Castaneda

California Teen Missing Since New Year’s Day Found Safe, Family Thanks Community

A 16-year-old teen who vanished on New Year’s Day has been located safe, and her parents say the community played a huge part in finding her.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, 16-year-old Alinka Castaneda was found safe Monday morning in Carson. A passerby spotted her and contacted police, ABC 7 reports. The last time the teen’s parents saw her was on a security camera at 5 a.m. at their Carson home, while an unknown male approached her.

Now back at home, Alinka is anxious and depressed, her mother, Maricela Avila, said. So far, the teen hasn’t answered any questions about her whereabouts but the family is thankful to have her home again.

An advocate for the family reportedly said that another person was involved in Alinka’s disappearance but so far, police haven’t arrested anyone in connection with her disappearance.

Alinka called her parents three times while she was away, but she called from a burner phone and didn’t tell them where she was, although she said she was being held against her will.

In one of the calls, the teen she was ready to come home and planned to meet up with her mother, but never showed up.

“There were tears of joy,” private investigator Moses Castillo told News Nation Now, recalling the reunion of mom and daughter. “She’s going to need a lot of professional counseling and support.”

Meanwhile, Alinka’s parents are encouraging the family of missing children to never give up.

It’s still unclear where the teen stayed during the time of her disappearance. The investigation is ongoing.

Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: YouTube SS via News Nation Now]