Crime

Teen still missing after kidnapping suspect killed in shootout in Solvang

Pearl Pinson
Pearl Pinson

An Amber Alert suspect who allegedly abducted a 15-year-old Solano County girl was killed Thursday afternoon in a shootout with police in Santa Barbara County.

The Solano County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet the 15-year-old girl he is suspected of abducting from Northern California has not been found.

The CHP issued an Amber Alert for Pearl Pinson about 2:30 p.m. Thursday. She was reportedly abducted by Fernando Castro, 19, in Vallejo on Wednesday morning. Vallejo is about 300 miles north of where Castro was found Thursday.

A witness in Vallejo heard a gunshot and Pinson scream for help and saw a young man dragging her across a freeway overpass. The witness said Pinson was bleeding from the face and her kidnapper was carrying a handgun.

At 3:10 p.m., CHP officers received a report that a 1997 gold Saturn that matched the vehicle described in the Amber Alert was driving southbound on Highway 101 north of Los Alamos, according to a press release from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. CHP officers and a helicopter started following the car.

The suspect in the vehicle briefly drove the wrong way on the freeway before exiting in Buellton. The pursuit continued eastbound on Highway 246 through Buellton and Solvang into a residential area. The suspect crashed into a barrier next to a mobile home park in the 100 block of Val Verde. He then allegedly shot at pursuing deputies, and one returned fire, according to the press release.

The suspect broke into a nearby mobile home and barricaded himself inside, according to the press release. A woman escaped from the home and was not injured.

The suspect then stole a gray Toyota Tundra truck and tried to drive away, according to officials. He was confronted by deputies and exchanged gunfire with deputies.

Deputies approached the vehicle, where the suspect was found dead inside with multiple gunshot wounds. A handgun was recovered from the scene.

Coroner's detectives are in the process of confirming the identity of the suspect.

Officials said their top priority now is finding Pinson, who is described as white, 5 feet 3 inches tall and 130 pounds with brown hair dyed green. She was wearing a gray sweater and black leggings and carrying a black and turquoise backpack when she was last seen.

Anyone with information about Pinson is asked to call 911 or the Solano County Sheriff’s Office at 707-784-1963.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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