Missing girls, 6,4, feared abducted, return home safely
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- After eleven hours waiting with no word, Sharon Thomas had resigned herself to consider the unthinkable, and to issue a plea through the cameras of Eyewitness News.
"If anybody's seen my two grandbabies, please bring them home, safe," she asks.
"Let them go, wherever."
Thomas' granddaughters, Kavisha Smith, and Jatasia Madry,4, had last been seen at 8pm Mother's Day, playing with their Barbie dolls on Kavisha's front porch at 738 Sylvan Avenue in Brainerd.
My daughter was in there cooking, dinner," Thomas says.
"She went out on the porch to bring them in to eat," says Chattanooga Police Sgt. Jerri Weary.
"They were gone," Thomas says.
The girls' extended family would search the surrounding neighborhood for two hours. Desperate, the girls' mothers called police.
"All the family has been checked, present, and accounted for; "Sgt. Weary says.
Police established a command post at New Monumental Baptist Church, at 901 Woodmore Lane.
By consent, they searched neighbor's homes in and around Sylvan Lane.
By 8AM Monday, they'd made arrangements to bring in three search dogs, and were seeking authorization from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to broadcast an Amber Alert.
That is, until Kavisha Smith showed up on her mother's doorstep with her cousin Jatasia in tow.
"Thank you all, thank everybody, praise the Lord," says Jatasia's mother, Jameca Thomas.
"My daughter and niece is fine, thank God," says Kavisha's mother, Sherkisha Smith.
Police piece together the story pretty quickly.
"They were in a house across the street, asleep," CPD Asst. Chief Tim Carroll says.
A case of children not talking to parents. And vice versa.
"The twelve year old girl who lives over there, was telling the little girls that they could hide over there because they thought somebody was chasing them," says Tekesha Bonds, a cousin of both girls.
Police and family members say they had talked to the 12 year old's grandmother, in her house, hours earlier.
"And she really didn't know the children were there, up under the bed," Sherkisha Smith says.
Police expressed relief during interviews with Eyewitness News about a half an hour later.
"It's the way we wanted it to turn out," Asst. Chief Carroll says.
Carroll won't hazard a guess as to the cost in manpower and resources to mobilize such an extensive search.
Jatasia Madry and her family left for home in Athens shortly after their reunion.
Kavisha Smith's mother says she harbors no ill will toward her neighbors.
"It's a lesson for me," Sherkisha Smith says. "Keep my child closer to my door, than anywhere."
"We definitely will keep four to six pairs of eyes on these girls from here on out," Bonds says.
"Just to make sure they're safe and in good hands."