2 missing Tennessee girls found in Florida; mom arrested
Published 10:20 am Friday, August 28, 2020
MIAMI (AP) — Police in South Florida say they have found two young girls who had been missing from Memphis, Tenn., for nearly a year, and arrested their 45-year-old mother.
Authorities said a search is underway for their 15-year-old brother.
On Tuesday, Biscayne Park police officers found a confused and barefoot girl wandering the streets. She told them her name and the agency asked Miami-Dade police dispatchers if there was a missing persons case for anyone matching her description, the Miami Herald reported. A local search came up empty, and dispatchers did a national search, which also found nothing.
The teen was turned over to the Florida Department of Children and Families, who discovered she was kidnapped from Tennessee, police said.
The girl was not able to tell officers where she was running from or where she was being held, the newspaper reported. But she did provide the color of the house in Biscayne Park where she had been staying, along with two numbers of the street address.
Police discovered she was not the only child missing in the Tennessee case. Child services officials told police she had two other siblings with her when she went missing and that they could be “possible victims of human trafficking,” the Herald reported.
Biscayne officers began researching the case and found an article from Memphis dated Sept. 22, 2019, that identified the missing girl, her siblings and her mother, who was also missing, police said.
The story said two girls — ages 12 and 9 — ran away from their foster home and may be with their mother and 15-year-old brother, police said.
On Wednesday, child services officials along with Miami-Dade and Biscayne Park police found the girl’s mother at a home in Biscayne Park. She had an outstanding warrant for kidnapping out of Memphis, Tenn., police said.
When authorities searched the home, they found a 9-year-old girl hiding in a closet.
Authorities did not find a boy. Memphis police put out a missing-persons alert for the missing 15-year-old.
Biscayne Park police did not identify any of the children, but the ages do match those of the girls who were found and the boy who remains missing.
The mother was arrested and taken to jail in Miami, where she’s being held on a out-of-state fugitive warrant.
The state attorney’s office and the Biscayne Park police are still investigating.