Update: Philadelphia police say 5-year-old Nailla Robinson was found safe in Upper Darby early Tuesday morning, hours after she was abducted from Bryant Elementary school by an apparent stranger posing as the child’s mother.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood told Action News a man walking near 69th Street heard a child’s cries for help. He found the girl hiding under a jungle gym in a nearby park. She was wearing only a T-shirt in 30-degree temperatures.
Superintendent Michael Chitwood tells Action News, “The abducted little girl came running to him, screaming for help. All she had was a T-shirt on. And she said that she had run away from the people that had taken her.”
Nailla was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated for hypothermia, and to be reunited with her mother.
The little girl had been missing since 9:00 a.m. Monday morning when a woman wearing Muslim garb entered her school and signed her out of class 5 minutes after her mother dropped her off.
Police say the woman introduced herself as “Tiffany,” but her signature in the school visitor log was illegible.
Nailla was discovered missing when a caretaker from an after school program arrived at the school at 3 p.m. to pick her up.
Police say school officials checked the log book and realized a child was signed out of the school Monday morning. School officials then called Naila’s parents.
An Amber Alert was issued Monday night by Philadelphia police and Mayor Michael Nutter posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to the girl’s safe return.
Nailla’s mother, Latifah Abdul-Rashid, told Action News the woman knew Nailla by name.
“A woman dressed in all black, all black gloves, niqab, and everything came in the school and went into my child’s classroom and told her teacher that she was me, her mother, and that she was taking her out to breakfast and Nailla was already signed out at the office and she took my child and left,” Latifah said.
Nailla’s regular teacher was off and a substitute teacher was working in her place.
The school district admits that basic security procedures already in place were violated by the school’s office staff who did not ask the woman for ID. Surveillance video shows the woman taking Nailla out of class at 8:50 a.m.
Nailla’s apparent abduction resulted in an outpouring of support and prayers from the public. But some observers are skeptical of the facts surrounding the girl’s disappearance.
Many believe Nailla knew her abductor, as evidenced by her willingness to leave with the woman.
“I don’t think that my child knew her. I think that my child thought that she was a familiar person because she was Muslim,” said Latifah Rashid, who herself is Muslim.
Police ask anyone with information on Nailla’s abductor to call 911.