California City girl who was missing had hoped to catch a slow-moving train

The search area in California City, Calif., for a missing 11-year-old girl is seen Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (KBAK/KBFX photo/Tim Johns)

UPDATE (6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18): Riley Moussette, 11, traveled about 10 miles from where she was last seen Thursday around 3:15 p.m., California City Police Chief Eric Hurtado told Eyewitness News.

The Kern County Search and Rescue team tracked her shoeprints through the desert.

A team member from Kern County Search and Rescue found Riley several hundred feet off the roadway and she was reunited with her family.

The team member talked to Riley to find out what had happened over the past 24 hours.

Riley had found an empty 55-gallon drum for shelter and slept inside overnight, he said.

Further investigation found that the young girl had a plan. There is a slow-moving train that runs through the area where Riley was twice a day.

"Her plan was to try to jump on that train and that's the direction she was headed," Hurtado said.

She was suffering from mild hypothermia after being in the desert for hours without proper attire, he said. Riley was taken to a hospital for treatment.

"We're very pleased. We’re happy," Hurtado said finding Riley. "Obviously, it was an emotional 24-hour ride. (We were) hoping we would find her safe and we did. We're very glad of the ending."


UPDATE (3:48 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18): Police said this girl was found. She's being treated for hypothermia but seems fine otherwise, according to police.


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – A desert search is underway Friday for a missing girl.

The California City Police Department said 11-year-old Riley Moussette was last seen in the desert between California City High School and the airport around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police Chief Eric Hurtado told Eyewitness News midday Friday that they’ve found shoe prints they believe belong to the girl about 2 miles into the desert.

She is 4-foot tall, weighs about 80 pounds and is wearing a puffy pink coat, jeans and tan boots.

She may be heading to Highway 14 to try to get to Lancaster, according to police.

She also went missing in December, and Hurtado said she has a history of going missing and traveling long distances.

Hurtado said they’re getting search support from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol.

“We’ll find her,” the chief said.

Anyone with any information is asked to call 911 or (760) 373-8606.


Note: This story was originally posted Thursday, Jan. 17, and was updated Friday, Jan. 18.

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