A Canadian girl who vanished without a trace last month has been found alive in the US – and a man police say was behind the disappearance has been arrested.
Lila Smith, 13, was reportedly uninjured when cops discovered her in a Oregon hotel nearly 1,000 miles from her home Alberta Saturday.
Smith, who disappeared on June 24, was discovered following a week-long search that spanned two countries and thousands of miles, with the teen’s face was plastered on billboards all over Canada.
The FBI and Oregon police have since arrested 41-year-old Noah Madrano in connection with Smith’s disappearance.
Records show the man is charged with raping the eighth grader – who cops say he met on social media.
Madrano – the producer and host for a popular Portland radio station – is expected to face additional charges in Canada as well.
Madrano, who lives in Oregon, is currently being held on those prospective charges by Oregon City police, and will appear in court Tuesday.
Canada cops, meanwhile, have charged Madrano with ‘child luring’ for the girl’s disappearance, saying he carried out the plot after convincing the middle schooler to meet him in person after getting acquainted online.
After being discovered Friday, Smith was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and has since returned home to her parents in Edmonton.
‘We are bringing our baby home,’ Smith’s mom Lynda shared to Facebook Saturday.
The mom wrote that ‘while we have a healing journey ahead, we are focused on seeing and embracing our daughter and getting her back home.’
Earlier that morning, Smith’s father Martin said that they had been notified by the FBI that their daughter was safe.
‘We’re on our way to Portland right now,’ he wrote. ‘Until we get [her] in our arms it still doesn’t seem like it’s over yet.’
He said that when he asked agents what his daughter’s state of mind was like, they told him that she was ‘tired’ and ‘trying to rest.’
Cops beforehand had said they took the teen to ‘a local children’s hospital for precautionary examination.’
Smith’s parents said they were relieved and grateful for the public’s support during the search, which saw hundreds of US and Canadian citizens call in tips as to the teen’s whereabouts.
Police overseeing the search in the teen’s native Edmonton worked with myriad agencies from both Canada and the US to track down Smith, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the FBI, and both US and and Canadian border agencies.
Cops say they were led to the 41-year-old suspect after police in Abbotsford, British Columbia, obtained CCTV footage Friday at the request of Edmonton police, showing Smith at a fast food restaurant near the Sumas border crossing into Washington state.
Smith, 13, was reportedly uninjured when cops discovered her in this Orgon City hotel – located nearly 1,000 miles from her home in Alberta
Cops say they were led to the room after police in Abbotsford, British Columbia, obtained CCTV footage Friday at the request of Edmonton police that showed Smith at a fast food restaurant near the Sumas border crossing with the suspect
By the time Abbotsford police arrived at the rest stop, the girl and suspect had already left.
Officials, however, were still hot on Madrano’s trail, reportedly receiving a credible tip about his identity, whereabouts, and the type of vehicle he was driving. Details concerning the specific content and source of the tip were not immediately given.
Police said the pair met through social media, and that Madrano persuaded the girl to meet him in person.
Cos said they believed Madrano came to Edmonton shortly before Smith’s disappearance, and spent at least three days in British Columbia.
It is not yet clear how he was able to transport the girl across the border without catching officials’ suspicions.
‘We would be speculating to say they crossed the border together, but I do know that they were located together, again, in the US once they gained entry,’ Inspector Brent Dahlseide told reporters during an online news conference Saturday.
The presser saw the Edmonton officer reveal that the two had been communicating online, and that their correspondence suggested that Madrano had ‘lured’ the youngster into meeting.
‘I don’t know how long they may have been in contact with one another. I do know that the reason we’re going with a child-luring charge at this point is that it’s one we can support because of some of the online history,’ Dahlseide said.
Police records show Madrano, who is being held in Clackamas County jail without bail – faces felony charges of kidnapping for the alleged abduction. The county’s website also lists charges of sexual abuse and rape in relation to the crime.
Police would not comment Monday on those prospective charges – which will likely be made official Tuesday.
In an email Sunday, Oregon City cops said police reports have been filed and sent to the district attorney in Clackamas County, who will review them Tuesday after the Fourth of July holiday and decide which charges to file.
On Sunday, Portland community radio station KBOO tweeted to say it was investigating ‘disturbing information’ regarding the alleged behavior of one of its on-air personalities, relating to a since deleted June 13 episode that saw the suspect have phone sex with a teen girl
Madrano works as the producer and co-host of a program that airs weekly on Portland radio station KBOO-FM.
The show, Sub-Human Intellect Theater, is described as a ‘monthly comedy/variety/performance art program’ by Madrano in his LinkedIn profile.
In addition to devising segments and booking guests, Madrano write that he also runs the board and mixer during the show while performing hosting duties. He also manages the show’s social media accounts.
The program’s most recent episode – which has since been deleted – reportedly featured a segment in which Madrano pretended to have phone sex with a teenage girl – leading many to believe the voice in the recording belonged to Smith.
A girl’s voice can be heard on the recording, but it is unclear who she is, or if the voice has been altered or simulated. DailyMail.com reached out to Oregon City Police to see whether cops were aware of the recording but did not immediately hear back Monday.
On Sunday, KBOO’s Twitter account published a post that said it was investigating ‘disturbing information’ regarding the alleged behavior of an on-air volunteer.
‘We have taken appropriate actions regarding this person’s involvement with KBOO,’ the station said in the cryptic tweet.
KBOO board vice-president KatMeow Garcia Sunday condemned the since nixed content, and said the station was not aware of the segment – which aired on June 13, less than two weeks before Smith’s disappearance – before the show went to air.
The FBI, meanwhile, says it will be able to supply bank and credit card information to confirm the suspect’s movements leading up to and in the days after the suspected abduction.
The FBI said the investigation is ongoing. Madrano’s charges will be officially released after he is arraigned Tuesday.