Missing 14-year-old girl from San Fernando found safe, family says

Local news

The family of a teenage girl who was last seen in San Fernando Saturday has reported that she has been found safe.

Angelica Pelayo-Hicklin, the mother of 14-year-old Destiny Isabella Mercado, and Corina Villanueva, Mercado’s stepmother, confirmed late Sunday night that Mercado had been located.

The information was verified by the San Fernando Police Department. Lt. Rosenberg of the SFPD added that Mercado was found in the Santa Clarita area and that police have made contact with her.

Mercado has not been harmed in any way and no foul play is suspected, Rosenberg added.

No further details were available as of Sunday night, though more information was expected by Monday morning.

Before Sunday night, Mercado was last heard from around 1:10 p.m. Saturday, when she texted her mother for permission to go to the local 7-Eleven store at Hubbard and Borden streets, according to the San Fernando Police Department.

A vehicle that a witness claimed saw a missing child's phone being thrown from in San Fernando on Aug. 21, 2021. (San Fernando Police Department)
A witness claimed they saw a missing child’s phone being thrown from this vehicle in San Fernando on Aug. 21, 2021. (San Fernando Police Department)

Around 1:40 p.m., someone claimed they found the child’s phone after it was thrown from a vehicle, according to police.

The vehicle was described as being a light gray or silver Mazda. Police released a surveillance image of the car in question in the area of Hubbard and Glenoaks.

Authorities said in a flyer that it’s unknown whether Mercado was a runaway or if her disappearance is tied to “suspicious circumstances.”

A man who identified himself as the child’s uncle told KTLA the family doesn’t believe Mercado ran away.

Mercado’s family told KTLA on Sunday that the teen has never run away from home before and believe it would be out of character for her to do.

“A lot of thoughts crossed through my mind, including kidnapping for sex trafficking,” Mercado’s mother, Angelica Pelayo-Hicklin, said as she fought through tears. “I hope that’s not the case.”

Carlos Villanueva, Mercado’s father, said he believed his daughter was in danger. Unable to comment after breaking down in tears, his wife, Corina Villanueva, chimed in and said: “We believe she’s in danger because we know Destiny… I’m the stepmom, but I take care of Destiny with all of our kids together and this is so heartbreaking.”

The girl was described as being 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.

No further details were immediately available.

Anyone with information is asked to contact San Fernando police at 818-898-1267 or email irosenberg@sfcity.org.

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