6-year-old Dalton girl missing in Mexico? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

6-year-old Dalton girl missing in Mexico?

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DALTON, GA (WRCB) -- A 6-year-old Dalton girl is missing, and authorities believe she's somewhere in Mexico.

Her dad won sole custody after an intense legal battle, but it was too late. All evidence points to the mom having fled to Mexico.

Missing posters of 6-year-old Anjalayiah Hicks are fresh off the printer from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Her dad, Shundy Hicks, is working with Dalton investigators and lawyers, to get her back where she's legally supposed to be.

"I'm going to go to the end of the earth to find her and I'm not going to stop until she's home," Shundy Hicks said.

Shundy Hicks says the legal battle over Anjalayiah started when the mom bragged about her new husband, who's in this county illegally, adopting her without him knowing. "It hurt me they would give away my daughter and this man had only showed one card, when I would have to show more things to return something to Walmart," Hicks said.

A judge overturned the adoption. The new husband, Rigoberto Reyes-Rios, was deported to Mexico. Then Hicks says rumors that her mom, Brandi Reyes-Rios, was plotting to follow him there started seeming real.

"She told me 'daddy,' she said she was sleeping on a mattress on the floor and there were boxes everywhere," Hicks said.

Then they stopped showing up for visitation. He went to court to gain sole custody and won, but Brandi didn't show.  "A parent's worst fear come true," Hicks said.

A family member reported her abandoned car at a rest area. "Told me she was on the move," Hicks said.

He got a court order for the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office to enter Anjalayiah in the national missing persons registry. Sheriff Scott Chitwood says it's a complicated case, but also believes she's in Mexico.

There is an arrest order out for the mom, but... "Everybody's hands are tied until she returns to the U.S. or to somewhere that we can locate her," Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said.

Sheriff Chitwood says Hicks has done everything possible to find her-- constantly bringing in new details that he's tracked down himself. Now he's sending off a Hague application.

"Mexico and the U.S. are both signatories of the Hague Convention, which provides a means for returning children from another country when there's been a parental abduction," Hicks' attorney Nancy Burnett said.

If that doesn't work... "As a last resort, if I have to go to Mexico to get my daughter, I will do so," Hicks said.
With no clue where in Mexico they are, his lawyer thinks the posters may be his best hope. "Somebody here in Dalton knows where this child is and can do the right thing so she can come home and be safe," Burnett said.

"I need my daughter back home. I need her back home," Hicks said.

Hicks admits he has a criminal record, but says he turned his life around when Anjalayiah was born. He says he believes his little girl is in danger with his ex. To this point, the FBI has said the case doesn't meet its criteria to take on.

If you know any info on where Anjalayiah might be, call the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office.

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