Kidnap suspect shot and killed in Solvang, victim missing

May 27, 2016

Pearl Pinson

Santa Barbara County Sheriff deputies shot and killed the suspected kidnapper of a 15-year-old girl in Solvang on Thursday afternoon. Officers have not located the teen.

On Wednesday at about 7 a.m., witnesses reported hearing shots and seeing a bleeding woman forced into a car on a highway overpass in Vallejo.

“A witness reported seeing a white female being pulled by a Hispanic male on the over-crossing,” the Solano County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. “The females face was bleeding and she was yelling for someone to help.

Fernando Castro

“The Hispanic male had a firearm in his hand. As the witness ran for help, a shot was heard. Upon arrival, Deputies found what appeared to be blood on the ground; however, no one was located in the area.”

Pearl Pinson was reported missing after she didn’t show up to school on Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon, an Amber Alert was issued for a 1997 Gold Saturn sedan driven by Fernando Castro, 19. Even though Pinson and Castro knew each other, officers said she did not leave with him willingly.

At approximately 3:10 p.m. on Thursday, a vehicle matching the description in the Amber Alert was spotted heading southbound on Highway 101, north of Los Alamos. CHP officers and Santa Barbara County Sheriff deputies pursued Castro’s vehicle on the highway.

At one point, Castro drove the wrong way on the highway before taking the Buellton exit. Castro then drove east on Highway 246 through Buellton and Solvang.

Kidnapping suspect's vehicle

Kidnapping suspect’s vehicle, photo courtesy of Mike Eliason

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., Castro crashed into a barricade near a mobile home park in Solvang. Castro began shooting at deputies, one of whom returned fire.

Castro then broke into a nearby mobile home, and barricaded himself inside. A female resident was able to escape from the mobile home uninjured.

Castro then stole a grey Toyota Tundra truck from the residence and attempted to drive away. In an exchange of gunfire, Castro was killed.

Officers are searching for Pinson. She is described as a white female, with green eyes, 5 feet 3 inches tall, and weighing about 130 pounds. At the time of Pinson’s kidnapping, her brown hair was dyed green. She has a metallic piercing below her left lower lip and was last seen wearing a grey sweater and black leggings.

Officers are asking anyone with information as to Pinson’s whereabouts to call 911 immediately.

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Hispanic males committing crimes.. Shocking.

Come home safely Peal….justice has been served.

Pearl may you make it back home to your family, thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Ouch, tough one. The deceased was a very important witness, however, it is very difficult to interview someone when they are shooting at you. Compassion to the kidnapped victim, her family, and law enforcement. May she be found safe.