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Crime

Kidnapped 15-Year-Old California Girl Still Missing After Kidnapper Is Fatally Shot by Police

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Courtesy Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

Police officers in Vallejo, California, are still searching for a missing 15-year-old girl after a shootout killed the victim’s suspected kidnapper.

Pearl Pinson was last seen around 7 a.m. on Wednesday, in a confrontation with 19-year-old Fernando Castro on a pedestrian overpass above Interstate 780. According to a statement by the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, a witness told authorities that Pearl was being dragged by Castro – her face was bleeding and she was calling for help. The witness said Castro was also holding a firearm, according to the statement.

While leaving to get help, the witness heard what sounded like a gunshot. Deputies found blood on the ground of the scene upon arrival – though authorities could not confirm whether Pearl was shot.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office say they were able to track Castro’s 1996 four-door Saturn down, seen Thursday morning on surveillance cameras near the San Rafael Bridge in Marin County.

Castro’s 1996 four-door Saturn was captured on surveillance cameras in Marin County
Courtesy Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office
An Amber Alert issued later that morning helped officials spot Castro driving southbound on California’s Highway 101, leading to a high-speed chase that ended when Castro crashed in front of a mobile home.

According to a Facebook post by the Santa Barbara sheriff’s office, after barricading himself inside someone’s home – the female resident of which fled to safety – Castro emerged with a gun and shot at officers. He then stole a grey Toyota Tundra truck from the residence and attempted to drive away, officers said, before an exchange of gunfire occurred, during which Castro was fatally shot, the sheriff’s office said.

No innocent civilians or law enforcement officers were injured during the exchange of gunfire, the sheriff’s office said.

Searching for Pearl

Pearl was last seen wearing a gray sweater and black leggings, while carrying a black and turquoise backpack. She is described as white, 5 feet 3 inches tall, at approximately 130 pounds. Her hair is brown, though dyed partially green.

While Pearl’s family members were unable to identify a connection between her and Castro, investigators said they believe they knew each other.

“The number one priority at this stage of the investigation is locating the kidnapping victim,” authorities said.

Anyone with information is urged to call 911 or the Solano County Sheriff s Office at 707-784-1963. The search is being expanded to include areas in Santa Barbara County and Marin County.

Evidence from Castro’s car is still being collected.