Update: Following a city-wide amber alert, Karol Sanchez was reportedly found on Tuesday afternoon by police. After some questioning, Sanchez allegedly told officers that the attack where she was taken from her mother on the street was staged. According to the report, Sanchez said that this was an effort to get away from her overprotective mother.
This story was originally published on December 17, 2020 at 12pm.
On Tuesday, a grainy black and white video from the New York Police Department showed a horrifying attack on 16-year-old Karol Sanchez. Walking with her mother on the street, Sanchez was grabbed and taken in a residential Bronx neighborhood on Monday night. This incident, unfortunately, followed a string of recent attacks on young women in the New York area.
Later Tuesday afternoon, NYPD reported that they found Sanchez after a city-wide amber alert was sent out. Sanchez was reunited with her mother and, according to police, "safe and unharmed." When they brought her in for questioning, though, the 16-year-old alleged that the attack was staged.
The video from New York's 40th precinct, which was posted on Twitter, showed the men appearing from out of nowhere, tackling Sanchez into the car and speeding off. When her mother tried to intervene and protect her daughter, the kidnappers also pushed her to the ground in the process, in a wild haze of events. It happened, quite literally, in a New York minute, a little past 11 pm on December 16.
According to a statement from the NYPD issued to Refinery29, they said that police received the report at about 11:20pm of a "16-year-old female victim walking along Eagle Avenue in the vicinity of East 156 Street." Sanchez was in the company of her 36-year-old mother when they were approached by a beige-colored four-door sedan which stopped in front of 745 Eagle Avenue, according to the report.
"Two unknown males exited the vehicle, grabbed the 16-year-old female, and dragged her inside the vehicle while pushing the victim's mother to the ground," the statement describes. "The vehicle, also occupied by two additional unknown males, then fled east bound on East 156 Street from south bound Eagle Avenue.”
The video shows no sign of the men coming, appearing from almost nowhere. According to police, her mother, who was left at the scene, was not injured and refused medical attention. An amber alert was put out for Sanchez, and the story spread rapidly on Twitter, with local officials including New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio asking New Yorkers to help find Sanchez. Her cousin took to Twitter to ask for help too.
The police precinct has given information to help find Sanchez, who is said to be approximately 5'5" tall, weighing 150 pounds, with short black hair, and brown eyes. At the time of the kidnapping, she was last seen wearing a dark blue short jacket, white sweater, blue jeans and black sneakers. The suspects who are seen on camera and wanted for questioning have been described as four adult men in their 20’s who have dark complexions and are wearing dark clothing.
Chief Fausto Picardo, the department’s chief of patrol, has also posted on Twitter asking people in New York for help finding Sanchez and tracking down the men who took her. According to the New York Times, the department is offering up to $2,500 for people who have any information about the kidnapping, and asking that anyone with knowledge that could help to come forward immediately.
Police are still investigating claims that the attack on Sanchez was staged.
This is an ongoing story. We will continue to update this as we know more.