Snohomish girl safe after kidnapping
SNOHOMISH — A missing developmentally disabled 14-year-old girl from Snohomish was found uninjured in Lynnwood on Aug. 7 after missing for nearly 24 hours, and a man faces kidnapping charges.
The 60-year-old man, Albino Estrada Montano, who was with the girl, was arrested and faced charges of second degree kidnapping, a felony. He is being held on $10,000 bail. Estrada Montano made his first court appearance at Snohomish County District Court on Friday, Aug. 8.
Elizabeth Harwood, the 14-year-old, had left her home in the 500 block of Avenue D in Snohomish for a short bike ride to a friend’s house the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 6.
Detectives believe the girl met Estrada Montano, a transient, at the McDonald’s on Avenue D in Snohomish not long after she left her house.
Police documents state Estrada Montano allegedly befriended Harwood and coninved her to take a bus ride with him to Lynnwood, where they spent the night with an acquaintance of Estrada Montano’s at a mobile home park.
Police documents state that per Harwood’s mother, Elizabeth Harwood has been medically diagnosed with several developmental delays along with mental health issues and functions. She has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old.
According to police documents and the interview with Estrada Montano, he had told his acquaintance Harwood was his granddaughter.
The two are believed to have never met before.
“So far in the investigation, there’s no reason to believe they have ever even met before,” Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Aug. 8. “Certainly they were not acquaintances.”
Estrada Montano later admitted to detectives that during the night Harwood stated she wanted to leave several times but he would not allow her to leave.
Harwood later told detectives that at some point during the evening or night, Estrada Montano told her to take two pills he gave her and threatened to punch her in the stomach if she refused, so she swallowed the pills.
Ireton said police do not know what kind of pills that Harwood ingested.
The next morning, according to detectives, the two woke up and walked to another McDonald’s near the mobile home park.
Harwood left the McDonalds and went across the street to the Grocery Outlet store at 19800 44th Ave. W, where a clerk recognized her from the news reports as the missing girl and called 911.
When police arrived, Harwood initially told them that she was with her grandfather, who was across the street at a McDonald’s.
Officers located Estrada Montano and arrested him on an outstanding Everett Municipal Trespassing Warrant. Harwood identified Estrada Montano as the same person she was referring to as “grandpa” and the person she had been with since Aug. 6. Harwood was taken to Providence Hospital for evaluation.
Estrada Montano told detectives that Harwood had originally told him she was 18 years old but at some time did tell him her correct age of 14.
Estrada Montano told detectives he did not believe she was only 14 “because kids lie.”
Estrada Montano made no attempt to to notify Harwood’s family or law enforcement of her whereabouts.
He also admitted to detectives that it was a mistake to take Harwood from Snohomish and he should not have done it.
The mass search effort by the Snohomish community and other local agencies began on Aug. 6. Ireton commended the community, the search volunteers and other agencies for their assistance and said it was by these efforts Harwood was recognized and found.
“It’s a huge relief for the community (that Harwood was found),” Ireton said. “Especially as time went on, we were losing valuable time, especially as it got to nighttime, it was very concerning. Again, we really want to give all our recognition to the community. Many agencies stepped up to help. We had over 30 volunteers combing the town. They were knocking on every door. While (Harwood) may have been known to the people of Snohomish, she certainly may not have been known to people (outside of Snohomish). To have a stranger recognize her, and call 911, it should be commended. I think it’s those kind of community heroes, that’s what makes this a really great community, here in Snohomish County.”
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