Missing 5-year-old girl reunited with family
MANILA, Philippines -- After two nights of separation, the child who went missing in Sampaloc, Manila has been reunited with her family.
Vanessa Almiranez expressed gratitude for those who helped her family in the search for five-year-old Joanna, such as the media, those in Batasan Hills and the people in Barangay 534, Sampaloc, Manila.
"Salamat po sa lahat ng tumulong sa akin. Salamat po kay mayor, salamat po sa inyong mga media, salamat po sa inyo sa ABS-CBN at TV5," she said.
Joanna was found in Batasan Hills, Quezon City by a vendor, who brought her to the barangay hall. Witnesses said she was left in the area by a man in a tricycle. The barangay officials then turned her over to the media after seeing her picture on television.
Joanna went missing during a barangay gathering in Sampaloc Saturday evening. She was last seen walking from an alley where she was supposed to get some food.
Based on the footage from the barangay CCTV camera, Joanna went with an unidentified man in orange shorts. Joanna walked behind the man, and they headed towards Blumentritt Street.
"Hinanap ko sa bahay ng mga kalaro niya, hindi ko siya makita. Kaya nagsabi na ako sa barangay," Vanessa said in an interview after Joanna went missing. She appealed to the media to help her find her daughter.
According to Vanessa, Joanna said the man in orange shorts seemed to have had a psychological illness. Investigators are trying to identify the man.
The child will be brought by her family to a doctor, who will make sure she is in good health after her ordeal, and also help her get past the trauma she sustained.
Vanessa also said she will keep a watchful eye on her daughter, to ensure the previous days' events will not be repeated. – From reports by Eric Dastas, DZMM and Francis Faulve, ABS-CBN News