Esther Kang

14-year-old Manhattan Beach girl found unharmed in San Diego after disappearing Sunday

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Courtesy of MBPD

Courtesy of MBPD

UPDATED AT 6:48 P.M.

The missing 14-year-old girl from Manhattan Beach was found unharmed Thursday evening in San Diego, according to police.

The San Diego Police Department received a call from a resident who said that a person reported missing was at her house. At 5:43 p.m., police located Leah Kritzer in the company of a 24-year-old man who she had met online while posing as a 19-year-old.

Kritzer told police that she was not harmed.

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UPDATED AT 3:20 P.M.

On Tuesday afternoon, Manhattan Beach police released a photo of the man believed to be last seen with Leah Kritzer, a 14-year-old Manhattan Beach Middle School student who went missing on Sunday.

According to a MBPD press release, investigators have reason to believe that the man may have information in the case. Kritzer was last seen with the man near Manhattan Beach Boulevard and Valley Drive around 6 p.m. Sunday. He is believed to have connections to the San Diego area.

Anyone who recognizes the man in the photo is urged to call MBPD Det. Mike Rosenberger at 310-802-5127 or Det. Sgt. Paul Ford at 310-802-5123.

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Police and the FBI are looking for a 14-year-old Manhattan Beach Middle School student who was last seen walking her dog Sunday afternoon.

According to KTLA, Leah Kritzer had been walking her dog on the beach. A few hours later, a woman called Kritzer’s parents after finding the dog wandering by himself without his owner in sight. Her parents haven’t seen her since.

Fourteen-year-old Leah Kritzer has been missing since Sunday.

Fourteen-year-old Leah Kritzer has been missing since Sunday.

But Manhattan Beach Police Det. Mike Rosenberger said Kritzer was last seen around 4:30 p.m. walking in downtown Manhattan Beach with her dog and an unidentified man.

On Tuesday, her parents went through the teenager’s phone and discovered that she had been posing as a 19-year-old woman in online chatrooms. They tracked down a man who said he met with Leah a few weeks ago in Hermosa Beach but realized instantly she was younger than her stated age, KTLA reported.

In another incident in January, Kritzer ran away from home and was later located at a Manhattan Beach motel, Det. Rosenberger said.

Police say there is no evidence that she has been abducted or that foul play is involved. Investigators are currently following up on leads.

In an email to parents Thursday morning, Manhattan Beach Unified School District’s Superintendent Mike Matthews urged everyone to help locate the missing girl.

“As you can imagine, this should be our community’s highest priority,” Matthews wrote. “I know it is mine. Thank you for doing what you can and for keeping your eyes open, and I will keep you informed.”

She is 5-foot-7-inches tall with braces and blond hair with orange tips. According to MBPD, she was last seen wearing an unknown color shirt, blue jeans with holes in them and black boots. She was also wearing an infinity necklace and a ring on her finger.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Manhattan Beach Police Department Dispatch at 310-545-4566 or 911. 

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