Crime

12-year-old missing in Bradenton

MANATEE -- A 12-year-old Valerie Davis was reported missing Thursday evening, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

She was last seen wearing pink pants and a black shirt. Her hair is cut short in the back with longer hair on the sides. She was last seen in the River Landings subdivision about 6:30 p.m. She may be in possession of a brown backpack that she carries with her.

Her mother, Marcela Gonzalez, has been bringing Valerie to work with her at the Taco Bell, 6310 State Road 70 E., during the school holiday recess.

Between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Thursday, Valerie left Taco Bell on foot. She did not have a cell phone, and it is unknown if she had any money. Investigators learned she walked through the River Landing's subdivision, which is next to the restaurant, and spoke to persons in the 5600 block of 61st Street East and 5500 block of 61st Street East, both of whom are regular patrons at Taco Bell, and acquaintances of Valerie.

The Sheriff's Watch Unit was utilized to search the docks and river banks in the area. A sheriff's canine unit attempted a track with a bloodhound.

Using an article of clothing from Marcela, a strong track was aquired which went through River Landings and continued past the houses where she had stopped. The track continued to Caruso Road, and then to State Road 70 where it went west. The track continued to Lockwood Ridge Road where it was terminated when a deputy learned from a Walmart employee that she had been seen at the store, according to a sheriff's report.

Investigators responded to Wal-mart, but due to heavy foot traffic in the area, a fresh track could not be established. Deputies attempted to view Walmart surveillance tapes, but there weren't any employees who had access to the system.

Deputies went to all businesses along S.R. 70, and spoke to workers in open convenience stores to no avail. Each theater inside the Royal Palm Cinema was also checked.

Anyone with information about Valerie's whereabouts is asked to contact law enforcement.

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