Missing 12-year-old found safe in hotel; American man, 49, arrested

Man sought in the disappearance of 12-year-old Hania from Rotterdam, 28 June 2019
Man sought in the disappearance of 12-year-old Hania from Rotterdam, 28 June 2019Photo: Politie

Update: Police initially said the suspect was 50. The age of the American man was later revealed to be 49.

A 12-year-old girl missing from Rotterdam since Thursday afternoon was found safe, police said. The victim, Hania, was the subject of an Amber Alert. She was found unharmed at a hotel, reportedly the Hilton Rotterdam off Hofplein.

Police arrested a 49-year-old American man in connection with the case. He was also at the city center hotel, at the time of the arrest, authorities said in a statement. The suspect detained in the case was reportedly the same man whose photo police circulated earlier on Friday as being a person of interest.

He has a criminal history of sexual abuse with a minor, sources told the Telegraaf. He was never arrested in the Netherlands prior to Friday, NOS reported.

Hania's family was thrilled she was safe and in good condition, they told the Telegraaf, indicating she would come home later on Friday. However, police told NOS that the girl's condition was being evaluated. According to Nu.nl, she was also being interviewed to get a clearer picture of what exactly happened, and when.

"Thanks to everyone for the help, the tips and for sharing the message," the Amber Alert Nederland said in a statement. As of 9 p.m. on Friday, police had not yet said what led them to the Rotterdam hotel where Hania and the suspect were discovered.

Hania was found at around 7:30 p.m., policy said. Her family was notified before the 8 p.m. public announcement.

She was last seen at her school in Rotterdam-Crooswijk at about 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. She told a teacher that she had an appointment at the orthodontist, and never went home. Her family notified police after 3 p.m., the time she normally arrived home from school. The pre-teen did not have an appointment with her orthodontist, the police investigation determined.

Some 30 police staffers were assigned to the Amber Alert, police said. Authorities later thanked the public for sharing messages about the missing girl on social media, and asked people to take down her photo where possible to protect her privacy.