NEW YORK CITY -- A 12-year-old Upstate New York girl whose disappearance Wednesday sparked an Amber Alert is believed to be in New York City, and one of the two men she was last seen with is in custody and facing charges.
Authorities say 12-year-old Malaya Johnson traveled from Hudson Falls to Staten Island with 19-year-old George Torres, of Navy Pier Court. She reportedly used social media to connect with Torres and arranged for him to pick her up after school Wednesday and drive her to New York City.
Johnson was seen leaving Hudson Falls Middle School, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, getting into a newer model red, two-door Ford Mustang sedan on Oak Street around 3 p.m.
The Amber Alert described the car and the two men, all three of which were located late Thursday. Torres allegedly left Johnson at the Staten Island Ferry, and he is now charged with kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Torres initially believed the girl was 18, but when he picked her up, it became clear that was untrue.
Neither Torres nor the second man in his car, who he also gave a ride, said they had any idea where Johnson was going in New York City. The other man was released after questioning.
The NYPD called a Level 1 mobilization to search the area, but Johnson was not located.
Hudson Falls Police Chief Scott Gillis said police believe Johnson is a runaway and that she could be in imminent danger. Shea said Johnson has reached out to her family and indicated that she is fine, but also that she has no intention of going home.
Johnson is described as having long, brown hair and brown eyes. She is 5 feet tall and weighs 115 pounds, and she was last seen wearing light red jeans, a white tank top and a light-colored backpack with a design on it.
Her cellphone was located near Sloatsburg in Rockland County Wednesday night after it was pinged by its service provider.
Johnson's case did not initially meet the criteria for an Amber Alert, Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said, but the decision was made Thursday to activate the system amid the report that she may have gotten into a vehicle.
Torres pleaded not guilty. He has no known criminal history, but due to the weight of the charges against him and his lack of ties to the community, the prosecutor requested he be held without bail. According to his attorney, Torres is a manager for EZ-Pass on Staten Island.
Anyone with any information on this abduction is asked to call the Washington County Sheriffs Office at (866) NYS-AMBER or call 911.
AMBER ALERT: 12-year-old girl still missing in New York, 1 man charged