Philadelphia police are narrowing in on the suspects who on Monday abducted 5-year-old Nailla Robinson from her West Philadelphia elementary school. She was found nearly 20 hours later, dressed only in an adult-sized t-shirt and hiding under playground equipment in an Upper Darby field.
"We now have two offenders involved in this abduction," Capt. John Darby said on Wednesday. He said a subsequent interview with the victim revealed that the woman who took her from her school blindfolded her and led her to a nearby house.
There, Darby said, the woman was met by a man. "He was inside the residence and joined this female abductor in restraining this child through the night and until the next day, when she was recovered at 69th Street and Marshall Road in Upper Darby," he said.
The couple told the child to undress and forced her to hide under a bed, feeding her one time during her captivity, according to Darby. "Based on the evidence given to us, this little girl suffered conditions that no child should endure," he said.
No further information was released regarding what exactly happened to the child due to her age and the sensitive nature of the case.
Darby said that, based on the girl's account that she walked only a short distance before reaching the house where she was held, investigators have targeted an area extending four blocks in each direction from the school where they're focusing their search.
"We have recruit officers from the police academy out in this grid, as we speak, with investigators," he said. "They're going door-to-door. They're handing out copies of this crime bulletin to every private residence and every business focusing in this particular area. We're looking for any leads."
Police are now asking for the community's help. "This was an egregious crime, obviously," Darby said. "The community should be outraged. We're asking them to channel that toward a focus on these two persons that we've described."
Investigators said the child was led out of the school's Hazel Street exit and turned left on 61st Street. Police are currently targeting the area bounded by Spruce Street south to Christian Street and 56th Street west to Cobbs Creek Parkway.
"What I'm asking for from the community is that they pay attention in this particular area," Darby said. "If you live in this area and you have seen, come across or made contact with either one of these offenders – independently or both in concert with each other – in that particular area, we're asking every resident and every business owner in that area to take another look, to focus on your particular area first."
The woman who abducted Robinson is described as a 5-foot-5-inch to 5-foot-8-inch thin black woman with light or green eyes. She was clothed in Muslim-style dress at the time of the abduction, with a veil obscuring her face. Police said she may be pregnant.
"Obviously, the type of clothing that was worn may have hid that to some degree," Darby said. "We have some variable descriptions in that particular regard."
The woman also may go by the name of "Rashida," which is how she identified herself to the child, according to Darby.
The male suspect at the home is described as a light-skinned, possibly white man in his mid-30s with short brown hair. He was last seen wearing sweat pants and a blue long-sleeved t-shirt.
In reward money has been offered in connection with the case. The Fraternal Order of Police announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to one or more of the suspects' arrest. The Citizens Crime Commission announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of one or more of the suspects.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911, to contact the Special Victims Unit at 215-685-3251, 3252 or 3265, or to submit an anonymous tip by dialing 215-686-TIPS (8477), texting PPD TIP (773847), emailing email@example.com or by filling out this online form.