Search for Chinese girl who vanished at Washington airport
Washington area authorities said on Friday they have launched a top-priority search for a Chinese girl who disappeared from the capital city's closest airport, amid fears she may have been abducted.
Police in Virginia, where Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is located, activated an Amber Alert for 12-year-old JinJing Ma, who was travelling in the United States with a tour group.
"JinJing is still considered a critical missing juvenile and we will continue to track down leads until we know she is safe," Washington Airports Authority Police Chief David Huchler told reporters.
Huchler said Ma received her passport before check-in on Thursday, then excused herself from the tour group to go to the bathroom.
"She then met with an Asian female... appears to have changed some clothing, and left the terminal" before getting into a white Infiniti SUV with New York license plates, he said.
An unknown man and woman are suspects in the disappearance.
The FBI is involved in the investigation, which now extends to New York, where witnesses told police that Ma was approached by a couple as the tour group visited the World Trade Center site in Manhattan.
"We're in the process of trying to determine the identities of these individuals, but it does appear that they are connected to the incident here at DCA."
While authorities acknowledged the possibility that the child may have left voluntarily with the suspects, the police Amber Alert states Ma was "abducted" from Reagan airport.
"She needs our assistance, until we can determine otherwise," Huchler said.
Huchler said efforts to reach Ma's grandfather in China were unsuccessful, and authorities were trying to determine whether she has any relatives in the United States.