Missing Mill Creek woman, daughter located in California

MILL CREEK, Wash. — UPDATE: Mill Creek police say 22-year-old Gabriella Harkenss and her 1-year-old daughter Chiara were found safe in California late Monday night.

Mill Creek police said they were notified by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department after they contacted the mother and daughter at their home in California.  Police said Gabriela told deputies they were safe and returned to California voluntarily.  Gabriela's boyfriend, David Merino, was not with Gabriela and Chiara at that time.

The Mill Creek Police Department said it will continue to investigate whether Merino violated a no-contact order filed by Gabriela.


Previous Story: A massive community effort is underway to find a mother and her 1-year old daughter after they vanished in the middle of the night. Mill Creek police say they could be in harm's way.

An endangered missing person advisory alert was released for 22-year-old Gabriella Harkenss and her 1-year-old daughter Monday morning.

"Something really bad will happen to her," said Martha Harkeness, Gabriella's mother. "I can feel it in my heart."

Martha Harkness said she and her husband discovered that Gabriella and Gabriella's 1-year-old daughter Chiara were gone around 7 a.m.

"We believe her boyfriend came up (from California)," said James Harkness.

Her boyfriend is 30-year-old David Merino.

Gabriella has no contact orders against him in California and Snohomish County.

In both cases, the documents refer to the bruises she got from repeated beatings. Her parents flew her up here on Aug. 9th, to try to keep them apart.

But Merino showed up at their house six days later.

"That's when police here in Mill Creek informed him of the restraining order," said James Harkness,  "and we thought it was going to be a little bit clearer after that. But no."

He thinks his daughter went willingly with Merino.

"Convincingly by him," he said. "Yes."

Mill Creek Deputy Police Chief Scott Eastman says they have one major concern.

"That they may have gone together," said Eastman, "and that the baby and the daughter may be at risk."

Eastman says even if Gabriella left voluntarily, the couple's violent history indicates she might be in danger.

"So our main goal is to locate the mother and the baby," he said, "and to make sure that they're OK."

Police say they may be in Merino's Volkswagen GTI, California license plates 7YRB200.

Martha Harkness has this message for her daughter.

"I would like to tell her that I love her," she said, "and I hope nothing bad happens to her."

There is also the fact that Gabriella is five months pregnant.

Mill Creek police are asking that anyone who sees them don't approach them. Just call 911 and the local police wherever they are will take over.

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