FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (KFOR) – Following an abduction and a multi-state investigation, officials say a 3-year-old child is safe after being found in Oklahoma City.
Officials say the child’s mother, 29-year-old Ashley Thomas, was not supposed to have any contact with the child due to an investigation into child abuse.
Investigators say the child suffered major injuries, including a lacerated liver while in Thomas’ care.
The child was then placed with its grandmother, 45-year-old Shawn Johnson. However, authorities learned that Johnson was violating an order and allowing Thomas to have contact with the child
At that point, an order was issued for Johnson to turn over the child to the Department of Child Services.
Instead, Thomas and Johnson fled Arizona with the 3-year-old.
On Nov. 19, the Flagstaff Police Department requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals. Warrants were issued for their arrests and a Missing Child Unit Case was opened.
“Child abduction investigations, especially those involving family members can be very confusing and complicated,” said United States Marshal David Gonzales. “Our focus is the health and safety of the child.”
The search for the group led investigators to Las Vegas where they located Johnson. However, Thomas and the child were nowhere to be found.
On Nov. 30, the U.S. Marshals received information that Thomas might be in Oklahoma City.
Around 3 p.m. on Dec. 2, deputies arrested Thomas and took custody of the 3-year-old child.
Ashley Thomas and Shawn Johnson were taken to local jails where they await extradition back to Coconino County, Arizona. The child was returned to the protection of the Department of Child Services.
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