The father of a 3-year-old girl was arrested Sunday in California after he claimed his car was stolen with the toddler inside — even though she wasn’t — hoping that police could find the car sooner, investigators said.
Ciara McCroey, of Oakland, was reported missing on Saturday night after her dad told authorities she was in the “stolen” vehicle, police said.
An AMBER Alert was issued for Ciara and investigators advised she was abducted “by an unknown suspect.”
“Believed to be wearing a pink hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans,” police alerted the public that she was taken while inside the dad’s silver four-door 2005 Mercedes S430, with license plate 8GIY743.
Help locate missing child 3 year-old who was taken in carjacking. The suspect has been taken into custody and the vehicle is a 2005 Mercedes Benz S430-4 Door silver license 8GIY743 has been recovered. We need to find the child. pic.twitter.com/eP26IM8SGU
— Oakland Police Dept. (@oaklandpoliceca) May 12, 2019
On Sunday, police said that the car was recovered — but that the child was still missing. “We need to find the child,” police tweeted.
Hours later, investigators said that Ciara was with her father earlier in the day, but police said at the time the vehicle was found, Ciara was confirmed to be safe, and in the care of her mother.
The 3-year-old’s father was arrested for filing a false police report, according to authorities, who alleged that he lied to police about his daughter being abducted “in hopes police would find car quickly.”
The child’s father wasn’t immediately identified.