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Search for missing teen intensifies after abduction suspect killed

Law enforcement officers are looking between Marin and Santa Barbara counties for a 15-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted in the Vallejo area on Wednesday, Solano County sheriff’s officials said.

An Amber Alert was issued today for Pearl Pinson, who was allegedly abducted around 7 a.m. Wednesday by 19-year-old Fernando Castro, a Vallejo resident who was apparently killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers this afternoon.

In a news conference tonight, Solano County sheriff’s spokeswoman Deputy Christine Castillo said the suspect vehicle, a 1997 Saturn, was spotted in San Luis Obispo County and the suspect fled, leading to a pursuit that ended in the Los Alamos area of Santa Barbara County.

The suspect, believed to be Castro, drove into a residential area, got out of the car and ran into a nearby mobile home. A woman was inside at the scene but was able to run out safely, sheriff’s officials said.

The suspect then stole a truck and soon afterward fired at law enforcement officers, who returned fire and killed him.

Sheriff’s officials said that while investigators process the scene in Santa Barbara County, the focus of the investigation is now to find Pearl and that the search has expanded to Marin County after a license plate reader there captured the 1997 Saturn traveling in the area.

Surveillance cameras captured the Saturn in the area of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in Marin County around 9:30 a.m. today, sheriff’s officials said.

Castillo said:

“The search has expanded exponentially. … There is a significant amount of area to cover.”

Sheriff Thomas Ferrera said investigators on Wednesday initially were told by witnesses that the suspect fled on foot:

“It was much later in the day that we determined a car was involved. … That was our delay.”

Castillo said the search for the girl is complicated now that her alleged abductor is dead:

“We can’t interview him and find out more.”

Castillo said there is a:

“… team of dedicated investigators that are working around the clock to bring Pearl home safely.”

The incident began Wednesday morning when several people called the sheriff’s office to report shots fired near the Interstate Highway 780 pedestrian over-crossing in the area of Home Acres and Taylor avenues in Vallejo.

A witness reported seeing a man with a gun pulling a female, who was bleeding and yelling for help, on the over-crossing. The witness heard a gunshot while running for help and responding deputies found blood on the ground, Castillo said.

Sheriff’s officials said they believe Pearl and Castro were acquaintances but that she did not go willingly with him.

Pearl is described as a girl with green hair who was last seen wearing a gray sweater, black leggings and had a black and turquoise backpack.

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call (707) 784-1963. Someone with urgent information about her whereabouts is urged to call 911 or their local law enforcement agency.

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