Search for missing teen focuses on Northern California coast

The frantic search for a teenage girl who was last seen being dragged, bleeding and screaming, by an armed acquaintance has shifted to a remote area in Northern California about 65 miles from where she was abducted.

The Solano County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that new information was prompting investigators to focus their search for 15-year-old Pearl Pinson along a road that traverses Sonoma Coast State Park near the town of Jenner. The search on land and along a river was suspended at sundown and will resume Saturday morning.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Christine Castillo did not elaborate on what led investigators to the rural area, saying only that the strongest leads are there.

“Our number one priority is to bring her home to her family, and we do believe that is possible,” Castillo said Friday evening at the search site. “There are indications she could be possibly injured, and that is still a concern. … We want to locate her and get her any medical attention she needs.”

The search for the San Francisco Bay Area girl has been complicated by the death Thursday of the young man suspected of abducting her as she walked to school Wednesday.

Police fatally shot Fernando Castro, 19, in Southern California after they spotted his car and exchanged gunfire with him as they say he attempted to get away.

A witness saw Castro armed with a gun and pulling a screaming Pinson across a freeway overpass in the city of Vallejo, where they both lived. The witness reported hearing a gunshot while running for help.

Authorities said surveillance cameras captured images of Castro’s car traveling Thursday morning in Marin County, about 25 miles from where Pinson was taken and 300 miles away from where he was shot and killed hours later. The gold Saturn sedan was spotted on a freeway near San Francisco Bay, and authorities also were searching the water’s edge.

Authorities said the two teens knew each other but emphasized that they believe Pinson was taken unwillingly. Rose Pinson, the missing girl’s older sister, said she had heard Castro’s name but had never met him and described him as an acquaintance, according to the Vallejo Times-Herald (

Blood and Pearl Pinson’s cellphone were found on the pedestrian overpass where she was taken Wednesday. A day later and hundreds of miles away, Southern California sheriff’s deputies spotted and pursued Castro’s car.

Castro abandoned the sedan about 45 miles north of Santa Barbara and shot at deputies as he ran into a mobile home park, the sheriff said. He briefly barricaded himself there, but a woman inside was able to escape safely.

He stole a gray pickup from the house and opened fire at deputies again before they shot and killed him, authorities said.

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