Hoax

Jose Penaloza-Estrada

An AMBER Alert issued Monday for the disappearance of two teenage girls who were safely found in Plano turned out to be “a pre-planned hoax,” the Seagoville Police Department announced Tuesday.

The girls, whose identities will not be disclosed due to their statuses as minors, were reported missing the evening of April 18 after they left a flea market. After one of the girls made an “alarming” phone call to her mother, police traced the call to a motel in Dallas and arrived at the location.

Nobody was present at the location, prompting authorities to issue an AMBER Alert.

Law enforcement said Monday morning that they believed the two girls were in imminent danger, but surveillance video of the call being made reportedly showed the contrary, as it showed them in the company of two men while showing no indication of danger or distress.

One of these men was identified as 20-year-old Jose Penaloza-Estrada of Plano, who allegedly rented a motel in the city, where both girls were found unharmed.

Penaloza-Estrada, whom police say knew of the AMBER Alert, was arrested and charged with harboring a runaway child.

The second suspect, a minor, has not been identified or arrested yet. It is also unclear if charges will be pressed against the two girls, or what their alleged motives were.

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