FLUSHING, Queens (PIX11) — A 5-year-old girl from Queens has been found safe after she went missing for several hours on Tuesday.
Police took a person of interest into custody for questioning.
Police said the girl was with her mother around 9 a.m. Tuesday at a Foodtown Supermarket on 37th Avenue. While in the store, the girl reportedly asked her mother to go to the park, police said. The mother said no but allowed an acquaintance to take her daughter instead.
The acquaintance, who the mother has known for about a month, is the 75-year-old person of interest in police custody. Surveillance images released by the NYPD show the man holding the girl’s hand in the grocery store. Police said the girl’s mother subsequently could not contact the man and called 911 around 1 p.m.
Police released still images of the pair on social media, hoping they would be recognized. Around 4 p.m., a good Samaritan spotted the girl in the Jackson Heights subway station — just a few blocks from the Foodtown supermarket — and flagged down officers, police said.
The man was taken out of the station in handcuffs. Detectives were questioning him and the good Samaritans, as well as the girl’s mother to understand exactly what happened to the girl for the seven hours she was missing.
Police said the man in custody lives in the Harlem area but did not release his name or indicate whether he has any criminal record.
As of late Tuesday night, he had not been charged with a crime.