Dunsmuir girl found, said to be 'in reasonably good health'

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
A photo of Victoria Lara of Dunsmuir from a flyer distributed after her disappearance. She was found in the Orland area Saturday, Feb. 18, and is expected to be reunited with her family soon, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday that missing 15 year old Victoria Lara was located Saturday and is expected to be reunited with her family soon.

She was found at a residence in the Orland area and transferred to the custody of Tehama County child welfare officials, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

Tehama County and Siskiyou County child welfare agencies are coordinating care for Lara, and her mother was notified of her safe recovery, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Sheriff Jon Lopey states in the release, “We are tremendously relieved that Victoria was found safe and in reasonably good health. We are also grateful for the extraordinary support we received from the Chico Police Department, Tehama County Sheriff’s Office, the Orland Police Department, and Tehama and Siskiyou County child welfare agencies. We also received assistance and support from Victoria’s family, numerous news media outlets, and citizens in Chico and Orland. Virtually all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the region were looking for Victoria and we appreciate that support. We anticipate that Victoria will be reunited with her family soon. Any teenager absent from their home for extended periods of time is endangered and many citizens do not realize many of these teenage runaways fall prey to human trafficking predators.”

Victoria had last been seen in the Dunsmuir area Feb. 9 and was seen Feb. 11 in the Chico area. She “appeared to have voluntarily left her home and due to a number of factors was considered ‘endangered’ by SCSO investigators,” according to the news release.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office reported that one of its Major Crimes’ Unit detectives was assigned on Saturday, Feb. 18, to coordinate a search for the missing teenager in the Chico area.

MCU detectives had been working closely with the Chico Police Department to locate the missing teenager after she was last seen in their jurisdiction, according to the release.

Siskiyou County Detective Jesus Fernandez was in the area when he received a report from the Orland Police Department that they located the missing teenager at a residence in the Orland area.

OPD said a citizen reported a sighting of the teenager and based their observations on recent news reports, according to the Sheriff’s Office. She had reportedly been staying at the Orland residence for about two days.

The Sheriff’s Office reported she was initially detained by OPD for law violations, and she initially failed to provide her true name. However, “OPD officers felt she matched the description of the recent SCSO ‘Endangered Missing Person’ bulletin and recent news media reports disseminated to local and regional media outlets.”

Detective Fernandez responded to Orland, and “with assistance from the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office and OPD, and Detective Fernandez’ confirmation, the teenager was positively identified and transferred to the custody of Tehama County child welfare officials,” the Sheriff’s Office states in its release.

Sheriff Lopey urges anyone with information about Victoria’s disappearance or her activities from Feb. 9 to 18 to contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office’s MCU at its 24-hour Dispatch Center, (530) 841-2900.