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Missing Calif. Girl Found Near Home

November 22, 2002

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STANTON, Calif. (AP) _ A missing 11-year-old girl was found late Thursday in a vehicle outside a motel near her home, two days after she was seen getting into a sport utility vehicle near where 5-year-old Samantha Runnion was kidnapped in July.

The girl, Bianca Marie Nunez, did not appear to be injured, police said. Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Hayward Miller said investigators were interviewing Bianca and someone he called her ``associate.″

``We do have the child in protected custody at this time,″ he said. ``We do have a male detained. I’m not sure of that person’s age at this time but it’s a young male.″

Bianca was seen getting into a black or blue SUV on Tuesday, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jon Fleischman said. A playmate said the girl willingly got into the SUV, which was driven by a man described as being 16 to 18 years old.

Miller said a TV news crew may have been the ones to spot Bianca on Thursday. Television station KABC said its reporters who were outside Bianca’s home spotted the girl in a black sports utility vehicle and followed the car to a nearby motel, where authorities later recovered her.

Fleischman said earlier Thursday officers were investigating a report that Bianca was seen at a music store while a black SUV was parked outside.

Bianca’s mother delayed reporting her missing for nearly a day because she thought she had to wait 24 hours, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Bianca apparently had spent time recently on Internet chat rooms. Amormino said she may have met the driver online and gone with him voluntarily.

Bianca vanished about a mile from the yard where Samantha was abducted on July 15 as she played with a friend. Samantha was later found slain. The man jailed in her death has pleaded innocent.

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