SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Police have located a missing Springfield girl who was abducted while on her way home from school on Wednesday afternoon and a suspect has been arrested.
Both the Springfield Police Department and State Police confirmed that 11-year-old Charlotte Moccia was found safe and sound and canceled the alert before 8 p.m. The Amber Alert was issued after police believed she was abducted in the Princeton Street area of Springfield Wednesday afternoon.
State Police spokesman David Procopio said one person was arrested after the blue car being sought in connection was stopped by troopers on the MassPike while it was heading eastbound in the Auburn and Sturbridge area.
Police identified the suspect in custody as 24-year-old Miguel Rodriguez from Springfield. Procopio said troopers surrounded the blue Honda Civic after a driver called 911 to report seeing the car. The vehicle was stopped in a work zone and Charlotte was found inside, safe and sound. Charlotte was taken to an area hospital for evaluation.
“She has no apparent injuries,” Procopio stated.
Rodriguez was taken to the State Police-Charlton barracks for booking and will be brought to Springfield to face charges. More details about the charges he will face will be provided by police later.
According to State Police, Charlotte was last seen being forced into a car by a white or Hispanic man around 1:26 p.m., not long after getting off the school bus at Princeton and Amherst streets. She was returning home from Hampden Charter School.
The charter school’s superintendent issued a statement on Facebook after police canceled the Amber Alert:
We just heard from the State Police that Charlotte Moccia, the 11-year-old HCSS student who went missing this afternoon, has been found safe by police. We do not have any other information to share at this time, but police have said they would provide updates when they are able. We are so relieved that she is safe. We will provide more information as we get it.Tarkan Topcuoglu, Hampden Charter School Superintendent
During a news conference after Charlotte was confirmed found, Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood described the incident as “every parents worst nightmare” and a “stranger abduction.” Clapprood said Charlotte was heard screaming before she was abducted. Mayor Domenic Sarno joined police at the news conference Wednesday evening and said no family should ever go through this.
A surveillance video shared by Springfield Police showed Charlotte walking alone on Tuesday, holding a white jacket. The video also showed a blue car driving slowly behind her a couple of feet away. Police believed the blue car is connected with her abduction on Wednesday. The man walking in the video is not a suspect, police say.
State Police said their investigation suggested a white or Hispanic man was walking behind Charlotte and forced her into the back of an older dark blue Honda, possibly a blue Honda Civic, with tinted windows, no front plate, distinctive aftermarket rims, and a moon roof. Police believe the car may have been driven by a white or light-skinned Hispanic woman.
This photo of the blue Honda was taken on Tuesday in the same area of Springfield where the abduction took place. State Police said the blue car had no inspection sticker and no front plate.
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