Mother: 'It's a blessing' That Missing Child Was Found Safe (Video)

Updated: Police say a caregiver faces reckless conduct charges for leaving a two-year-old in a car unattended while she went to a fitness center.

A two-year-old girl was found safe and sound after DeKalb police say she was abducted this morning when left unattended by a caregiver in a car outside the Fitness Center at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, DeKalb County police say.

Updated 5:08 p.m. 10/16: Police say the caregiver, Rhonda Rivers, 44, of Lithonia, faces multiple charges including reckless conduct.

A good samaritan, Melba Williams of Lithonia, spotted the car that police were searching for in the parking lot of Lithonia High School a little before 1 p.m.

Williams said she'd heard an alert about the child and was on her way home when she saw a vehicle that fit the description of the car the little girl was in, a dark gray Dodge Caravan, with the back windshield covered by plastic.

Williams pulled up and found the child standing up inside the car, crying, but she was unharmed. Williams called 911. 

See attached video: Charity Gibson, the child's mother, told reporters that she was "ecstatic" to find her child safe and sound.

She and Williams were seen embracing in the school parking lot.

According to preliminary reports to authorities, the incident happened around 9:30 a.m. when a day care provider left the child unattended in a car outside the church's fitness center at 6400 Woodrow Road in Lithonia while she went inside.

The child and the van, which belonged to the caregiver, were gone when she returned a few minutes later, police said in a press release.

DeKalb police say there is no information on who took the van. Public information officer Mekka Parish said authorities are reviewing footage from Lithonia High School's survellance cameras and the fitness center's cameras that may help the investigation.

Gibson said the caregiver has apologized to her.

See also:

[Video] Woman Describes Finding, Comforting Missing Toddler

Check back with Patch for updates to this story.

Hannah Nicole Smith October 16, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I'm so happy the little girl was found unharmed. God was watching after her. Be Safe. I wouldn't know what I would do if that happened to my two girls. GOD BLESS THE FAMILY
Bruce Mitchell October 16, 2012 at 06:41 PM
If something happened to the little girl would that mean God wasn't watching over her? That was probably the mentality of the "caregiver" to excuse her negligence and selfishness. Stop blaming God and be what you were created to be.
CookieBanks October 16, 2012 at 07:04 PM
So very happy the baby is safe. I'm upset that people STILL don't get STOP LEAVING KIDS IN THE CAR UNATTENDED!!!! It just doesn't make any sense. I don't understand this mentality. No one will ever be able to justify to me how it's OK to do this. I see it all the time. I was at Publix on Hugh Howell 3 kids and a dog left in the car this was in August. The kids looked to me to be from 6 years old - an infant in a car seat. I reported it to Publix employee at CS desk and she looked at me blank stare and shrugged her shoulders and said nothing we can do about it. I was floored. I went back out to get the tag and call the police myself saw an adult loading a basket full of groceries into the car. That means the kids had been out there a while and apparently no one in a crowded parking lots bothered to say anything. I'll do it again if I see foolishness however I'll just call the cops next time. Yes it's challenging to tote the kids and all their gear BUT AS A PARENT or adult in charge of the kids that is your job to make sure they are safe. You don't want to be bothered with them don't have them or work with them. So stupid!!!
Bruce Mitchell October 17, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Good for you Cookie. That is the true presence of the creator in our conscience and behavior when we do right. It is in us and we have to be it.
Decaturette October 17, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I've seen infants left in car seats alone in the car in many, many neighborhoods. Once it involved an expensive car in a swank part of town while the Dad ran into the store to pick up an item waiting for him. When I said something, he swore at me and told me to mind my own business. I think that maternity wards, pediatricians, parenting manuals etc. have to hit parents over the head with the message to NEVER leave your infant or child alone in a car for even a minute. Not even if they are in a carseat that they cannot escape. Not even if the car is in park and turned off. People really don't know. Or they harken back to a time when customs were laxer about leaving children unattended.


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