TODAY   |  December 03, 2012

Cops look for child snatched from cancer ward

Phoenix, Ariz., police are searching for an 11-year-old cancer patient who was seen on surveillance camera being snuck out of a hospital ward by her mother. TODAY’s Natalie Morales reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> a desperate search is unfolding in arizona as officials search for a sick girl taken from the hospital by her mother .

>> phoenix police are searching for the 11-year-old who is a cancer patient , and this all started last wednesday when she was escorted from a hospital ward by her mother , all of this captured on surveillance tape. officials say the girl's life could be in danger if she doesn't receive proper medical care soon. this surveillance video is the last confirmed sighting of an 11-year-old cancer patient who phoenix police identify as emily seen leaving the phoenix children's hospital with her mother and brother on wednesday. police say emily had been receiving leukemia treatments for over a month and had her arm amputated due to an infection. she was scheduled to be released from the hospital last thursday. instead her mother appeared to take matters into her own hands. surveillance tape shows emily attached to an iv which police say was connected to a catheter in her heart. it appears emily 's mother removed the iv.

>> it's my upsing she was walking around with this child still connected to the iv. they walked into a bathroom in the lobby area. it was in that bathroom that the mother then changed this child's clothing and removed the iv from that catheter. they then all just walked out of hospital .

>> the surveillance tape then shows the family getting into a black van and driving away. police say emily 's life is at risk because her catheter wasn't properly sealed.

>> there's a pretty good chance of this child obtaining an infection. once an infection starts, it could be just a matter of days which could turn fatal.

>> police know little about emily 's family, identifying her mother as norma and father as louis, adding the family may have relatives in arizona and california. police also say there's no evidence of wrongdoing by the hospital .

>> the hospital doesn't have any obligation to hold people there, to detain patients there. obviously we're concerned about the welfare of emily and ensuring that she is safe and has proper medical treatment .

>> phoenix police are asking members of the community to serve as their eyes and ears helping to locate emily and her family, a task made more urgent now with emily 's life at stake. savannah?

>> natalie, thank you.