A 12-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl visiting from Vietnam reported missing shortly after they arrived at Los Angeles International Airport were picked up by a man by arrangement with their families and are safe, according to airport police.
A sister of 12-year-old Ly Camly Vuong was uncooperative when questioned by police and Vuong’s parents contacted in Vietnam told police to “just drop” the search, according to airport police officer Rob Pedregon.
“It appears to be a planned deal, something they planned with their family,” Pedregon said. “They willingly left with an individual.”
The 17-year-old girl was identified by airport authorities as Linh Huyen Cao.
The vehicle in which they left, photographed by surveillance cameras, was registered in Westminster, Pedregon said.
The girls’ families may have been attempting to keep the girls in the United States, he said. The matter was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The girls had just arrived at LAX to take part in a trip to Santa Barbara planned by Education First, and teachers were unaware of the arrangement and became panic-stricken when they disappeared, Pedregon said.
While it was good that the girls were safe and sound, “unfortunately we wasted all these resources trying to locate people who were not missing,” he said.