Cops: Missing Houston girl, 12, may be being held captive after "credible threat"

Jennifer Castillo

KHOU

HOUSTON -- Police say the family of a missing Houston girl received a "credible threat" to her life and she is believed to have been kidnapped. The Houston Police Department issued an Amber Alert for Jennifer Castillo, who was last seen at 7 p.m. Tuesday on Harbor Town Drive in southwest Houston. 

She was staying at the apartment complex with family members, and relative last saw her speaking on the phone before she disappeared.

Houston police detectives said that they believe that Jennifer could be in danger since a "credible threat" was made by people who may be holding her against her will.  They said the family was contacted after she disappeared and they could hear Jennifer in the background, apparently frightened of the people who may be holding her captive. They did not say how the family was contacted or detail the nature of the threat, but Houston Police Detective D. Crowder called it "credible, reliable and genuine."

"If she is being held, we don't know the mental state of the captors … what they're prepared or not prepare to do," Crowder said. "Time is of the essence because she is 12 years old and is not capable of making decisions that would be most beneficial to her."

Crowder said there is concern for the girl's safety and some of the girl's extended family members expressed concerns for their own safety as well.

Police said they have no suspects and no vehicle description. They suspect the apparent kidnappers are adults and it's possible Jennifer knows them. The girl's mother lives in Honduras, but the mother has not heard from her. Investigators are looking into the possibility that she's headed there, but they believe based on her phone records that she is still in the Houston area.

The girl's phone has since been turned off.

They pleaded with anyone with information to come forward. They also made a public appeal for the girl to contact them or call 911 if she's able. Anyone with information about this missing child is asked to immediately call HPD at 713-308-3600.