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Missing 5-year-old found safe in Clinton

A 5-year-old girl missing for just over an hour on Wednesday evening was returned safely to her father and stepmother and the person responsible for her disappearance is in custody.

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 10:54 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2021 9:20 AM

CLINTON, N.Y. -- A 5-year-old girl missing for just over an hour on Wednesday evening was returned safely to her father and stepmother and the person responsible for her disappearance is in custody.

Kirkland Police tell NEWSChannel 2 that the 5-year-old and her stepmother were at a supervised visit at the Kirkland library with the 5-year-old's birth mother, Stephanie Karuzas of the Kirkland area. Shortly before 5:30 p.m., the stepmother began calling out her stepdaughter's name. Police say she became distraught when she could not find her and that is when a library employee called 9-1-1.

When police arrived on the scene they began interviewing the stepmother and a search started. Approximately an hour and 15 minutes later, Karuzas and her 5-year-old daughter came back to the library unharmed.

Police interviewed her and during the investigation, they discover Karuzas and the child didn't go far from the library. Police were also alerted to several warrants for her arrest by the Cortland County Sheriff's department. Police tell us Karuzas committed numerous misdemeanors and a more serious charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 4th degree.

Karuzas is being held in Kirkland Police custody until she is turned over to Cortland County Sheriffs. The investigation in Clinton remains open and more charges are possible.

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