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Missing Kirtland teen with autism found safe

Submitted
Kaylani Benally

WINDOW ROCK

A 13-year-old young girl was found this morning 47 miles away from where she reportedly went missing from Tuesday night.

Kaylani Benally, who police say has autism, was reported missing around 7:30 p.m. when she did not return from the restroom. A Brittany Alert was issued by the New Mexico State Police as police and searchers continued to look for her.

Now the FBI and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office are saying Benally was allegedly kidnapped.

“The FBI and San Juan County Sheriff’s Office are looking for a man suspected of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl in Kirtland, N.M.,” the FBI statement reads.

Authorities did not say who found her or if she was injured, but stated she was found alive at a trading post in Red Valley, Arizona, on Wednesday at approximately 7:30-7:45 a.m.

The suspect is described as a Native American male in his 30s-40s, approximately 6 feet tall with short brown hair. He had no facial hair.

He may be driving a dark colored four-door pickup truck with a bed cover, silver rims, and a 4×4 emblem.

He was last seen at Broken Horn arena/RV Park on County Road 6100 in Kirtland, where he allegedly abducted the girl at approximately 7:30 p.m.

“Law enforcement is actively searching for this suspect, but we need the public’s help to bring this perpetrator to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda of the Albuquerque FBI Division. “Anyone with information on this suspect’s whereabouts is asked to immediately contact the FBI at 505-889-1300 or report online at tips.fbi.gov.”

Anyone with information about the alleged abductor is encouraged to call the police.


About The Author

Donovan Quintero

"Dii, Diné bi Naaltsoos wolyéhíígíí, ninaaltsoos át'é. Nihi cheii dóó nihi másání ádaaní: Nihi Diné Bizaad bił ninhi't'eelyá áádóó t'áá háadida nihizaad nihił ch'aawóle'lágo. Nihi bee haz'áanii at'é, nihisin at'é, nihi hózhǫ́ǫ́jí at'é, nihi 'ach'ą́ą́h naagééh at'é. Dilkǫǫho saad bee yájíłti', k'ídahoneezláo saad bee yájíłti', ą́ą́ chánahgo saad bee yájíłti', diits'a'go saad bee yájíłti', nabik'íyájíłti' baa yájíłti', bich'į' yájíłti', hach'į' yándaałti', diné k'ehgo bik'izhdiitįįh. This is the belief I do my best to follow when I am writing Diné-related stories and photographing our events, games and news. Ahxéhee', shik'éí dóó shidine'é." - Donovan Quintero is an award-winning Diné journalist, who is based in Window Rock, Arizona. He can be contacted at dq@navajotimes.com.

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