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Missing Glendale woman found alive and well in Merced

May 13, 2010 |  2:39 pm

Nancy SalasA 22-year-old Glendale woman missing since Wednesday was found alive and well Thursday in Merced.

Glendale police said Nancy Salas is now at the Merced Police Department station. It remains unclear how she got to the Central Valley city, but officials said they don't believe foul play was involved.

The announcement caps a wide search for Salas that included police helicopters and bloodhounds.

Authorities have said that she may have misled her family and pretended to be a UCLA student, but her family and friends dispute that.

Leonardo Chusan, a friend of Salas, said she is enrolled part-time at UCLA and attends class every week, on Mondays. But Chusan, a UCLA senior, said he had never seen her on campus.

Police and UCLA officials say Salas has not been enrolled at the university since the fall of 2008, giving rise to suggestions that she may have been leading a double life and may have disappeared of her own accord.

"She may have been leading a double life and it was starting to catch up with her," said Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz. "The family was going to have a graduation party where she would have to show off her diploma."

But friends said that story doesn't match what they know of Salas, the daughter of immigrants from El Salvador who sings in a band at her church.

"No, I don't believe that, that would really surprise me," said Grace Sangalang, 23, a friend. "She was really close with her family, and she was really loyal."

Read more about the case: Glendale woman, 22, reported missing is found safe in Merced

-- Kate Linthicum in Glendale

Photo: Nancy Salas. Credit: Glendale Police Department