A missing 15-year-old girl was found safe in San Francisco today after her cousin spotted the girl with her alleged abductor, who was subsequently arrested on warrants of taking her from her Redding-area home last month, San Francisco police said.
Jean Marie Berlinghoff went missing from her home on Nov. 10 and was believed to be with her uncle, Charles Berlinghoff, 34, who is from the San Bernandino area of Southern California, according to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.
Jean Marie’s cousin spotted her with her uncle near the 400 block of Division Street and called 911 at about 1:45 p.m., San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said.
“The cousin lives in San Francisco and happened to be in the neighborhood at the time,” Esparza said. “It was just pure coincidence and luck.”
The pair was detained along with a third suspect–an unidentified man in his 50s–near Folsom and 15th streets at about 1:50 p.m., Esparza said.
They were found near a red Ford Explorer with Oregon license plates, which is still being investigated in connection to the case.
After being detained, Jean Marie and the two suspects apparently gave police false names for themselves, but Jean Marie’s cousin was nearby and able to identify her and her uncle, Esparza said.
The third man has now been positively identified, but police still don’t know his involvement in the alleged abduction. He is being detained pending an investigation.
Charles was arrested and is being held in Mission District on an outstanding warrant issued out of Shasta County for the abduction of Jean Marie, Esparza said.
This is the second child abduction case that began outside of the Bay Area to be resolved in San Francisco in two days.
Brittany Mae Smith, 12, was found safe and Jeffrey Scott Easley, 32, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping her in Virginia’s Roanoke County last week.
A resident spotted them both at a Safeway store in the city’s Outer Richmond neighborhood on Friday afternoon.
In both cases, police credit the help of concerned residents who identified people involved in the abductions, Esparza said.
“Working together helps us solve these important crimes,” Esparza said.
Photos of Jean Marie Berlinghoff, Charles Berlinghoff: Shasta County Sheriff’s Office