DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The mother of an abducted DeKalb County girl says she is overwhelmed with the love and support from the community who helped bring her child back home safely.
Holding 1-year-old Royalty Grisby in her arms, Elizabeth Grisby said she's "never been so supported in her life" while thanking the DeKalb County police and detectives.
"I'm just glad that she's home," she said.
DeKalb police say they received a call from a homeowner on Stoneleigh Hill Road who had been alerted by a passerby that there was a baby crying on her porch. When the homeowner came out to check and realized the baby fit the description of Royalty, authorities said she notified police.
"My initial reaction, I almost fainted. I could not believe it landed on my step," homeowner Anna Henderson exclaimed adding that she was flabbergasted to find the baby on her own front porch.
"The first thing that went through my mind was the baby is safe. When I opened the door and saw the little feet and I looked and saw its face, it did not look harmed to me," Henderson said.
Royalty was then reunited with her mother before being checked out at a local hospital, police said.
Grisby said she was "ecstatic" when she got the phone call that Royalty had been found.
"I felt like I gave birth again. It was pure joy - like the first time I ever saw her," she said.
She said her daughter was originally quiet, but has since gone back to her normal self and is happy.
DeKalb Police Chief M. V. Ramos called Royalty's safe return the "very best day" for the county.
"I just came from the hospital. I opened up the door to Royalty’s room and she ran into my arms and it just made my day. She’s a happy cheerful baby," Ramos said.
Grisby said she hoped the suspect,14-year-old Malachi Richardson, gets the help he needs, saying she "felt sad for him" and didn't understand why the teen would have set up the theft that led to Royalty's abduction.
The events leading up to the abduction of 1-year-old Royalty Grisby
Officials say the carjacking happened around 2 a.m. as Elizabeth Grisby was making a food delivery on the 1,200 block of Harvest Dale Court in Stone Mountain.
Police say the Royalty was asleep inside the running car at the time.
Grisby said she heard the car door close and tried to run to stop the suspects, but they drove off before she could get to her vehicle.
Police are searching for 1-year-old Royalty Grisby. (DeKalb County Police Department)
The vehicle, a maroon 2010 Nissan Armada with a Mississippi tag, was found abandoned shortly after 9 a.m. in a nearby neighborhood. Police say neither the suspects nor the young girl were found at that time.
Investigators also said the thieves changed the license plate of the vehicle after they stole it.
"We have a 1-year-old child out there who's not with her mother. We fear for her well-being and her safety. Every second is critical," DeKalb County Police Department Capt. Brian DeLoach said in a press conference earlier in the day.
"I just want my baby home. I don't care about nothing in the car. I don't care about all of that stuff. I just want my baby. That's all I'm worried about," Grisby said through tears at a press conference.
What we know about the suspect in kidnapping of Royalty Grisby, Malachi Richardson
Around noon Thursday, police identified the suspect as 14-year-old Richardson. According to investigators, they believe the order "appears to be fake" and that it was a setup. They said they determined Richardson was the person in that area when the crime happened and when the vehicle was abandoned.
14-year-old Malachi Richardson is wanted in connection to the abduction of 1-year-old Royalty Grisby (Dekalb County Police).
Police originally believed there may be two suspects involved, but have no other information about their identities. They also believe they may be on foot.
The case remains under investigation
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