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A fifteen-year-old Edgefield County girl was abducted Fri., Aug. 2, by her mother after the mother lost custody to the child’s paternal grandparents that same day. Reportedly, the child’s grandparents, with whom the child had resided for the past year, had sought and won an emergency temporary court order earlier on Friday placing the girl in their care based on charges that the girl’s mother had beaten her and that the mother did not have a stable home nor the money to care for the girl.
According to Captain Chris Wash with the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office, who spoke with The Advertiser on Mon. regarding this case, the ECSO was notified on Fri. by the grandparent’s attorney of the court order. The ECSO was also notified that the girl’s mother was attempting to flee the state with the child. However, as Capt. Wash explained, this case falls under the jurisdiction of the SC Family Court System, and while the court order gave the ECSO no direct authority to find the child and take custody of her, Capt. Wash stated the ECSO made numerous attempts on Friday to locate the girl. He said the ECSO also listed the child on the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and alerted the Atlanta Airport of her status. However, the girl was booked on a flight through the airport under another name and was subsequently sent to Arizona. The ECSO then notified Arizona authorities of the girl’s abduction.
The attorney for the grandparent’s in this case, Aaron Walsh, has made allegations that the ECSO did not do enough on Friday to prevent the child’s abduction. In speaking with The Advertiser on Monday, Mr. Walsh stated he did not feel the ECSO used their full legal authority in this case. While he and the ECSO are at odds on this point – the ECSO maintaining that due to the wording of the court order and jurisdiction issues their legal authority was limited – Mr. Walsh said he does feel that now the ECSO is working to help secure the girl’s return.
Mr. Walsh confirmed that the girl has been located in Arizona and is believed to now be in the care of her maternal grandfather, who lives there. Mr. Walsh stated he is currently navigating the legal channels that must be followed to secure the child’s return.