Man Held in Alleged Sexual Assault of 11-Year-old Girl

AP Wire Service

STANTON, Calif. (AP) – A man was arrested Friday for allegedly sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl who vanished for three days after climbing into a car, and her mother was held for investigation of child endangerment, authorities said.

Alfredo Teran, 20, of Long Beach, was taken into custody a day after the girl was found in a motel near her Orange County home.

He was arrested for investigation of committing lewd acts on a child, continuous sexual abuse of a child and oral copulation, and was held in Long Beach on $50,000 bail, authorities said.

However, investigators believe the girl acted voluntarily, Long Beach police Officer Greg Schirmer said.

“There doesn’t appear to be a forcible situation,” he said.

The girl’s mother, Diane Ponce, 28, of Stanton, was arrested later Friday by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for investigation of child endangerment.

Sheriff’s spokesman Jon Fleischman declined to release the details of her arrest or provide the girl’s whereabouts.

Investigators believe Teran met the girl during a party line telephone chat roughly a week ago, and that the two had been seeing each other since then.

On Tuesday evening, a man picked up the girl at her home and she voluntarily accompanied him to a motel about 10 miles away in Long Beach, Long Beach police said in a statement.

Ponce delayed reporting her daughter missing for nearly a day because she thought she had to wait 24 hours, authorities said.

Early Thursday, the mother had pleaded with her daughter to return.

“I love you, I want you to come home,” she said in an interview with KABC-TV. “We miss you. We’re all here for you. I’m not mad.”

Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Hayward Miller said preliminary information indicates a TV news crew may have been first to spot the girl Thursday night.

KABC-TV said that its reporters, who were outside the girl’s home, spotted her in a black sports utility vehicle and followed the car to a nearby motel.

The girl had been playing in front of her home with a friend at about 7 p.m. Tuesday just before she was seen getting into a dark-colored SUV.

The girl “ran to the car, and she said ‘bye’ to us,” playmate Lorren Brooks told KCAL-TV.