ARLINGTON, Va. (ABC7) — An urgent search is now underway, for a 12-year-old girl authorities say was abducted from Reagan National Airport.
The 12-year-old child, JinJing Ma, is believed to be in extreme danger. She is described as having black hair and brown eyes. She weighs 90 pounds and is 4 feet 11 inches tall.
Her suspected abductor is described as a 40-year-old Asian woman with black hair and wearing a black dress.
“At this point we don’t know the exact circumstances as to why the child left with this Asian female. The child appears to have left without any force,” said Metropolitan Washington Airports Police Chief David Huchler.
An Amber Alert was issued on behalf of the Metro Washington Airports Authority for a child abduction, but the alert wasn’t put out until more than seven hours after the young girl went missing.
Chief Huchler was asked about that delay during an evening news conference. Watch below:
“The MWAA police did not receive information that she was missing for more than an hour after the child left the airport. During the course of the day, we’ve been working with the FBI, attempting to get in touch with the Chinese Embassy, soliciting help from the State Department, and so the investigation, just because of the circumstances, didn’t warrant what we’re doing right now, and that is soliciting the help of the public,” he said.
JinJing Ma was last seen at about 8:15 a.m Thursday. That’s when she arrived at Reagan National Airport with a tour group from China.
Authorities said the tour group, called Delta Da Mei, has been in the United States since July 26. They were set to depart Reagan for a flight bound for the west coast.
Shortly after arriving at the airport, police say JinJing Ma left her group, saying she had to use the restroom. She never returned.
“It wasn’t until they were starting to check through security that another student within the group notified chaperones she was missing,” said Huchler.
By the time police were notified, he says the child was long gone. She’s believed to have been taken by an unknown, middle-aged woman.
Police surveillance cameras inside the airport showed the girl changing her clothes with the woman’s help. Then, the pair can be seen leaving the airport together, in a white Infiniti QX70, a 2016 or 2018 model, with New York plates.
On Thursday night, investigators released new surveillance images, in hopes of identifying the alleged abductor.
One photo shows the Infiniti the child and her alleged abductor were last seen in.
A second photo shows the child and the female suspect walking together through the airport’s arrivals level. A third photo shows the female suspect and a second male suspect arriving at the airport.
Police believe the male suspect was behind the wheel of the Infiniti as they left the airport. The FBI is still working to enhance surveillance images enough to identify the vehicle’s license plate number.
Authorities plan to provide an update in the case at 9 a.m. Friday at Reagan National Airport.
For further information, contact the Metro Washington Airport Authority at 703-417-2400 or visit www.vaamberalert.com.