NORCROSS, Ga. - The missing 4-year-old girl who was the subject of a Levi’s Call, Georgia’s Amber Alert system, has been activated has been found safe after officers said they received a tip.
A nationwide alert was issued Tuesday morning after a report to police that the young girl’s mother, 30-year-old Gladus Lemus, pulled Mireida Esponzoa-Lemus into a car while she was playing in front of her Hammond Drive home. Investigators said a man was driving the vehicle at the time of the kidnapping.
“The father told us, based on past experience with the mother, that his daughter could be in danger. He believes she is in grave physical danger,” said Sgt. Eric Butynski.
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The child's mother, Gladis Lemus, remains in custody at the Gwinnett County Jail. She faces two counts of kidnapping charges and a child cruelty charge.
Gwinnett County Jail records state Lemus was in jail for about a week last May charged by Norcross Police with battery and third degree child cruelty. Investigators wouldn’t go into details, but FOX 5 News obtained a copy of her arrest warrants which suggest she hit the girl’s father in front of the child. Police confirm Mereida’s parents were married at one point, but now live in separate homes.
“The father has sole physical custody of the child. The mother only has supervised weekend visitation, so this was not a scheduled pick up or any other part of visitation," said Sgt. Butynksi.
Police said they received a tip during the early evening hours stating that the car believed to be linked to the incident was parked at an apartment complex just outside city limits. Investigators said they arrived and found a man inside the vehicle. He reportedly pointed officers to an apartment where the mother later surrendered to police.
The child appeared unharmed and was reunited with her father.
The name of the man in the vehicle has not yet been released. Charges were not immediately announced.