Missing Lehigh Acres girl found in Indiana

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LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. A 14-year-old girl was found in Indiana with several other missing children, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

The girl is safe and doing well, a family member said. The girl’s sister-in-law identified her as Catarina Castro.

The sheriff’s office initially believed Castro may have been a human trafficking victim, but U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement determined neither human trafficking nor human smuggling investigations were warranted.

An alert was sent out through an organization called “A Child is Missing,” but the situation did not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert, Lee County deputies said.

Castro, who had just immigrated from Guatemala, left Lehigh Acres in search of work, said Dulce Guerrero, her sister-in-law. The family is trying to raise money to bring her home from Indiana.

Deputies were initially called Saturday to her home on the 800 block of Chipley Street East when the family wasn’t sure of her whereabouts.

After several attempts, the family was able to make contact with the girl.

The family told deputies Castro was in a vehicle with a woman who was taking her to someone who could provide employment so she could repay her family for bringing her to the U.S., the sheriff’s office said.

Following the initial call, the sheriff’s office Major Crimes Unit and Fugitive Warrants Unit coordinated with the U.S. Marshal Service and Homeland Security Investigations to find Castro, according to deputies.

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