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Mother arrested, daughter found in Newport Beach child abduction case

May 29, 2010 |  5:11 pm

A statewide search for a 4-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted by her mother in Newport Beach ended Saturday when police took the pair into custody in Playa Vista.

Authorities said Symphony Sarah Aiton was found unharmed and taken into protective custody around 2:20 p.m. at the intersection of Lincoln and Jefferson boulevards, where officers found the vehicle and detained the girl's mother, said Lt. Paula Kreefft of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Kreefft said the child would probably be returned to her foster parents.

The girl's mother, Angela Marie Aiton, 34, was arrested and would be returned to Orange County, where she will face criminal charges, the Newport Police Department said in a statement.

Kreefft said a civilian in the area called police after seeing the 1998 black Jeep Grand Cherokee that was being sought in a missing-child alert, Kreefft said. Police then tracked down the Jeep and surrounded it.

Robert Overby, 59, a freelance photographer, said he unknowingly pulled up next to the jeep at a red light and glanced over at the woman. "I think she thought I was an undercover cop," said Overby. "She had this panic look on her face, and I realized then that it was her and I yelled out, 'Hey, you're that woman they're looking for, pull over.'"

Overby said that he was not the civilian who called police, but that he managed to take several pictures of the woman as police surrounded the jeep. He said about 30 patrol cruisers were there.

The Newport Police Department said the incident began Friday around 6:35 p.m. when Angela Aiton, who was having a court-ordered supervised child visitation, asked the girl's foster father if she could take her daughter to the restroom at a restaurant in Fashion Island. When she did not return after 10 minutes, the foster father called Newport Police, authorities said. An Amber Alert was issued that evening.

-- Ruben Vives