Missing in Mexico: Dalton dad gets help in search for daughter
DALTON, GA. (WRCB) - A six-year-old Dalton girl is missing. Authorities believe she is 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 with her. Channel 3 Eyewitness News has been following this case for several months and has new details.
Shundy Hicks says the missing posters of his six-year-old daughter Anjalayiah Hicks, haven't generated any helpful leads since they went up in may in stores across the country and on around 100 web sites.
Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood says there is an arrest order out for the mom, but says Mexico is out of his departments' jurisdiction and can't do anything as long as she's there. Hicks is doing everything he can think of to get his little girl back home. Finally, he has some new hope.
"I can't give up. That is my child," Shundy Hicks says.
It's been almost a year since Shundy Hicks last saw his daughter Anjalayiah.
"Not only do I miss her that much, but her younger siblings, they miss her as well," Hicks says.
He says he's trying to stay strong for her two little sisters, but the void is always there at family gatherings, at grandma's.
"She's not there, there's a piece of me missing," grandmother Darliscia Ashley says.
Or, just days like today at the park.
"Emotionally, it's been tumultuous," Hicks says.
"When you're telling the truth and you've got documents and proof, you can't get help from anybody. That just doesn't make sense to me," Ashley says.
Hicks says it all started when his ex's new husband, Rigoberto Reyes-Rios, adopted her without him knowing. A judge overturned the adoption, but then Reyes-Rios was deported to Mexico. Hicks says rumors of Anjaylayah's mom, Brandi Reyes-Rios following him there starting seeming real.
He won sole custody, but it was too late. Brandi didn't show in court. A family member reported her abandoned car at a rest area. Investigators believe she took the little girl to Mexico, but don't know an exact location.
"Right now it's nothing," Hicks says.
He filed a Hague application with Mexico, and received a court order to enter her in the National Missing Persons Registry, but says his countless hours of searching hasn't brought him any closer to finding her, until now.
A national non-profit group has agreed to take on his case. It investigates international abductions and has a high success rate of locating children. The group wishes to remain anonymous for now.
"Finally, here's someone saying yes, they are willing to help me and right now with the situation being that it is, I don't know any other way to go. I mean I've tried pretty much everything I know how," Hicks says.
Hicks says he's desperate to get Anjalayiah back home with him, but he is willing to make an agreement with her mom and step-dad in Mexico to share visitation, stressing it's in his daughter's best interest to have all of her family present in her life.
If you have any information on where Anjalayiah is, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).