Missing 3-year-old girl in North Carolina found safe, abduction suspect identified

A 3-year-old girl missing from North Carolina was found “alive and well,” and a woman wanted in connection with her abduction has been identified, officials say.

Ahlora Ashanti-Sample Lindiment was reunited with her family Thursday night, a day after her disappearance prompted an Amber Alert, according to Greensboro police.

Now, officials say they are searching for N’denezsia Monique Lancaster, 22. She is a suspect in the girl’s abduction and has first-degree kidnapping charges pending, according to a Facebook post.

N’denezsia Monique Lancaster Greensboro Police Department

Anyone with information about Lancaster’s whereabouts is asked to call 911 or 336-373-1000.

Police Chief Wayne Scott on Thursday night said Ahlora appears to be uninjured but was taken to an area hospital to be checked out, according to news conference streamed on multiple media outlets.

“At the end of a very long day, this is a very positive conclusion for us,” Scott said. “I’ve got 30 years of law enforcement. Very seldom do we have this good of an outcome.”

Ahlora was reported missing about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at 2411 Phillips Ave., which is a residential area in northeastern Greensboro near retail, restaurants and churches.

A woman suspected of taking her was last seen heading northwest of the area.

Police released several surveillance photos of the woman on Thursday. By the end of the day, she had been identified as a suspect.

A woman who is a suspect in the girl’s abduction is described by police as being about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 135 pounds with a short ponytail and wearing a black crop-top shirt, tiger-print pants with a yellow stripe and dark flip-flops. Greensboro Police Department

How 3-year-old girl was found

At 8:18 p.m. Thursday, police received a call on a tip line that a small child had been found walking by herself in front of Words of Faith Christian Center, a church at 719 Dillard St.

The woman said she thought it might be Ahlora.

“We, too, believed it was Ahlora,” Scott said.

Police immediately went to the church, which is in a residential area about 6 miles southwest of where Ahlora was reported missing.

Ahlora told police her mother’s name, Scott said, which led to her positive identification. She was reunited with her family shortly before the 10 p.m. news conference, he said.

“Obvious jubilation,” Scott said of the reunion. “The parents have been on edge. They were elated they were able to reunite with their child.”

In the coming days, an officer trained to talk with victims like Ahlora will see if they can determine what happened in the 30 hours before she was found.

At a press conference earlier in the day, Scott told the media that Ahlora had been at a playground Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses saw the suspect “interact with multiple children in what was defined as a suspicious way,” Scott said, according to WGHP.

Thursday night, Scott would not speculate on a possible motive.

Police plan to expand their search area to look for witnesses and surveillance footage that may help find the woman.

While Ahlora was still missing, her mother encouraged people to come forward, ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner reported.

“Even if you don’t want to be known, or you don’t want to have your name or anything to do with it, you can always leave an anonymous tip to help us out, to help us find her and make sure she gets home safe,” Erica Lindiment said, according to the station.

Public safety officials described the suspect about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 135 pounds with a short ponytail. She was wearing a black crop-top shirt, tiger-print pants with a yellow stripe and dark flip-flops, along with a gold necklace.

This is a developing story. Return for updates.

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Features Editor Jessica Banov oversees coverage of entertainment, the arts, food and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun.