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Crime and Courts

WPD: Missing Wichita Infant Found Alive, Healthy In Dallas

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Updated 9:15 a.m., Nov. 19, 2016: An infant missing from Wichita since Thursday afternoon has been found alive and healthy. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay held a press conference to announce that 8-day-old Sofia Gonzales was located at a residence in Dallas around 4:30 a.m. Saturday. Police say two suspects who knew the infant's mother were taken into custody. He declined to offer any other information citing the ongoing investigation. Chief Ramsay said the baby is in protective custody as the investigation continues.

Original: An FBI team specializing in child abductions has been called in to assist the Wichita Police Department in the search for a missing newborn a day after her mother was shot to death in her home. Officers are considering the infant endangered during a disappearance Police Chief Gordon Ramsay has found to be vexing.

On Friday afternoon, Ramsay said the investigation had turned up no information on the whereabouts of 7-day-old Sofia Victoria Gonzales. 

The infant's mother, 27-year-old Laura Abarca-Nogueda, was found dead Thursday in her west Wichita residence. No suspects have been identified in the case.

Police held a press conference Friday afternoon to ask for the public's help in locating the missing infant. Lieutenant Todd Ojile told reporters that any reports about someone suddenly passing off an infant as their own, or buying large quantities of baby formula or clothing would be of special interest to investigators.

"We're looking for anyone that all of the sudden has a child or says a family member has come to visit them. They could say this is their niece or nephew, or they could say this is their child and they didn't know they were pregnant," WPD Lt. Todd Ojile said.

Police say the infant was reported as missing from 215 N. Brunswick around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17. Gonzales' father called the authorities when he returned home from work and found his girlfriend had been shot. The boyfriend informed officers that the couple's daughter was also missing from the residence. Abarca-Nogueda was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m.

Wichita police Sgt. Nikki Woodrow says the girl's father isn't considered a suspect.

Ojile says officers worked all night and into the morning Friday interviewing friends, family and co-workers. Police have determined the shooting happened sometime between 1:00 and 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

"Our main concern right now is to locate and safely return Sofia Gonzales to her family," Ojile said during a separate briefing Friday morning. "Sofia is missing and believed to be endangered."

An Amber Alert was not issued for the missing infant. WPD Sgt. Nikki Woodrow says that in order to issue an Amber Alert for a child, there has to be a suspect in their disappearance. 

"And that is what we don't have," Woodrow said.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Sofia Victoria Gonzales or the death of her mother is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI or 911. Police say the tip line will be monitored on a 24-hour basis. 

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Follow Abigail Beckman on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.