Los Angeles police detectives in Van Nuys are asking the public’s help for information that would to locating a female suspect wanted for kidnapping and grand theft auto.
Investigators have ident-ified Maria Elizabeth De La Torre as their suspect. De La Torre is Latina, has black hair and brown eyes, is 5-feet tall, and weighs 130 pounds. She was last seen wearing blue jeans and a pink shirt, and is known to frequent the area of Sepulveda Blvd and Sherman Way.
De La Torre is wanted in connection with the theft of a white 2001 Infiniti G-20 sedan. The car was taken about 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 3, from the 15400 block of Gault Street, near Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys. Inside the vehicle was an 11-month-old boy still strapped into his car seat
The boy was later found un-harmed inside the abandoned sedan Tuesday afternoon. He was reunited with his mother after being evaluated at a hospital.
Police initially believed the incident to be a carjacking and began a massive search. About noon, an “alert citizen” spotted the car abandoned near where it had been stolen, and the child, whose name is Leo, was safe in the vehicle, LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza said.
According to investigators, the boy’s mother had gone to a babysitter’s residence to pick up another one of her children, and had left the car unattended with the engine running and Leo inside.
De La Torre confessed over the phone to taking the vehicle and said she would turn herself in, investigators said, but she has not done so and subsequent calls to her number went into voicemail.
De La Torre is known in the area and apparently stole the car in a “crime of opportunity,” and may not have realized the boy was inside, police said.
The boy’s mother said she does not know the woman.
Anyone with information regarding De La Torre’s whereabouts was urged to call the LAPD’s Van Nuys Station at (818) 374-9500. After-hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to (877) LAPD-24-7. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.