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News

Child Predator Kidnapped And Harmed Toddler Before Dropping Her Off, Police Say

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A child predator kidnapped a two-year-old girl from a Gardena car wash on Thursday afternoon and dropped her off injured hours later at an intersection miles away.

Police are searching for the suspect who snatched the toddler around 5 p.m. at the self-service car wash located near 149th Street and Western Avenue, reported CBS Los Angeles. The child's mother told Gardena police that her daughter wandered away while she was vacuuming her car. She heard her daughter yell out "Mommy," but when she went to look for her, she was nowhere to be found.

Authorities went on a massive search for the girl, going door-to-door near the car wash, putting up flyers, and using loudspeakers in patrol cars asking local residents to be on the lookout, according to the L.A. Times.

Gardena police Lt. Steve Prendergast told the Times that the kidnapper was a child predator, and that the girl had been injured when they found her. However, he didn't say how she was injured.

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"I haven't seen a crime like this in the 20 years I've been in Gardena," Prednergast told NBC Los Angeles.

The toddler was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood to get checked out, though it's not clear what condition she is in. She is now at home with her family.

Police released surveillance video today showing what they believe is the suspect's car, which is possibly a white, four-door Nissan Altima from the years of 2008-2012.

Anyone with information was urged to call Gardena police at 310-217-9670.