A 2-year-old girl was found safe in New York state late Tuesday morning, more than 1,000 miles from home, after her abduction from northeast Minneapolis a day earlier by her psychologically troubled 26-year-old sister, police said.
Police spokesman John Elder said Nasteha Mohamed was in the custody of child services as a reunion with her "very concerned and very relieved parents" is being arranged.
Elder said a nationwide alert led to police pulling over Amina Mohamed on a New York State Thruway earlier Tuesday morning, where she was arrested.
New York authorities said they had "pinged" Mohamed's cellphone and got a hit on eastbound Interstate 90, roughly 40 miles southeast of Rochester.
About 10 minutes later, her SUV was spotted by State Police speeding on the interstate. Officers pulled her over just off I-90 in Elbridge and found the girl in a car seat in the back. The child "appeared to be in good health," an agency statement read.
Elder said investigators had information that Mohamed may have been "traveling to Massachusetts to a college in that area [to attend] a lecture that she wanted to attend. We were working off of that piece of knowledge."
Noting that personnel worked through the night in hopes of finding the girl and her sister as quickly as possible, Elder said, "There is just this added drive to get these cases solved."
Before being located, Nasteha Mohamed was last seen about 2:50 p.m. Monday near the 1400 block of NE. Marshall Street, Elder said.
Elder said in an earlier statement that Amina Mohamed "has had issues with mental instability and suffers from bouts of paranoia."
He said the circumstances of this abduction did not qualify for an Amber Alert by state authorities, even though he had said before the girl was found that "Nasteha may be in danger at this time."
Elder said police took details of the abduction to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which has the final say on whether an alert is necessary.
"They are the subject matter experts," the police spokesman said. "We respect that completely. ... I think they [thought] it lacked a credible threat."
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482