Portsmouth police issue statement on Amber Alert

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PORTSMOUTH — Here's a statement released by The Portsmouth Police Department Wednesday afternoon:

"At approximately (9:35 a.m. Wednesday) Portsmouth Police received a report from the resident of 59 Ferry Landing that her 13-year-old daughter was missing. A search of the home and immediate area failed to locate the child.

"However, while canvassing the neighborhood for information, police located a witness who reported (seeing) a young female leave the residence with a male subject. According to the witness, the young female was seen leaving the area with the male in an older model red Chrysler Concord or Sebring (with faded paint and possibly NJ registration).

"Upon receiving this information, and after confirming that the male subject was unknown to the family, police issued an immediate broadcast to all area law enforcement agencies. Police subsequently contacted the RISP for assistance and issued an Amber Alert.

"The matter is currently under investigation by the Portsmouth Police and the Rhode Island State Police. The missing child is identified as Kathryn Botelho; a 13 year old white female, approximately 4’11”, 110 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. Clothing description unknown.

"The male suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’9’, thin build, unshaven, approximately 40 to 45 years of age. Anyone with information concerning this case is asked to contact the Portsmouth Police at 683-0300.

Interim Police Chief Jeffrey Furtado shared some additional information about the investigation at a press conference at Town Hall Wednesday afternoon.

A witness, described as a landscaper, said the girl was wearing a purple shirt and appeared to leave with the man voluntarily, he said. The girl’s mother had left the home for a short period and when she returned, her daughter was missing, he said.

“Unfortunately,” he said, Kathryn was not carrying a cell phone.

“To the best of our knowledge she may have left with an iPod and clothing,” he said.

Police did not block any of the bridges but contacted the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority for assistance with surveillance, he said. State Police was also contacted for help.

Chief Furtado said he wasn’t aware of any medical needs that Kathryn may have.

The news is disturbing, he said, but “no community is immune to any of this.”

“She has not been seen nor heard from now since 9 o’clock this morning. Any time a child is gone for that period of time, it’s a major concern,” he said.  “Hopefully we can generate some leads from some people who have seen something or known something.”

Meanwhile, a Facebook page has been set up as a clearinghouse for any information regarding Kathryn's disappearance. The page had more than 2,000 "likes" as of 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.