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Missing California girl found hiding in closet in home with secret trapdoor

The 14-year-old, who went missing on Oct. 22, was found in a home with a trapdoor that led to a secret sleeping area under the house. Her bedding and phone were found there, police said.
/ Source: TODAY

A lengthy search for a teen girl in California ended after police found her hiding in the closet of a home that had a trapdoor leading to a secret sleeping area on a dirt floor under the house, the local sheriff's office said.

Three adults were facing charges after the missing 14-year-old was found on Oct. 31 deep inside a closet at the home in West Point, east of Sacramento, the Calaveras County sheriff's office said.

A photo of the secret sleeping area at a home in West Point, California, where a 14-year-old girl was found on Oct. 30.Calaveras County Sheriff's Office

The girl, whom TODAY is not naming because she is a minor, was reported missing on Oct. 22. Police said her family had given her permission to spend a few nights at a friend’s house, but when her mom went to get her, the people in the home said the teen had already left.

People at the house in West Point later told deputies that they'd last seen the girl walking down the driveway.

A week later, the sheriff’s office got a warrant to search the home where she was last seen.

The home had a trapdoor that led to a secret compartment, Calaveras County deputies said. Calaveras County Sheriff's Office

“The occupants insisted that (the teen) was not present and that all information had already been given to law enforcement,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

“While searching the interior of the residence for evidence, detectives located (her) deep within the corners of two adjoining closets as she was intentionally hiding amongst densely hanging clothes.”

The sheriff's office said she was removed from the closet and “found to be unharmed.”

During the search, deputies also found a hidden trapdoor that led to a makeshift sleeping area on a dirt floor under the house. The girl's bedding and phone were found in there.

The closet where police said the girl was hiding. Calaveras County Sheriff's Office

Police arrested three suspects — Isaiah Haggard, 20, Annie Pearl Abernathy, 41, and Jose Tinocopureco, 34 — on Friday.

Haggard and Abernathy were charged with giving police false information, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and felony child endangerment, authorities said. They were being held on $100,000 bail.

Tinocopureco was arrested on suspicion of giving police false information and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He's since been released from police custody with a citation for misdemeanor charges, police said.