(WFLA) – Memphis police said Monday Polk County girl Becky Lewis has been found safe.
An AMBER Alert had been enacted through most of the southeast, including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky, for the missing 4-year-old. On Monday Becky, who officials called Rebecca, was found with West Wild Hogs, the man authorities had said she was with, according to officials. Hogs is in custody, according to the local NBC affiliate WMC TV.
The pair had previously been seen in Nashville and in the area of Cove Lake State Park, in Campbell County, Tennessee — which is near Interstate 75 close to Tennessee/Kentucky border. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says sometime between 10 to 11 p.m. Sunday night a park ranger reported seeing a man and child matching Hogs and Becky’s description at the park.
Earlier Monday Sheriff Grady Judd pleaded with the public to help in the search for the girl. “I’m not above a bunch of good ol’ boys grabbing that 4-year-old girl,” Judd said.
Becky was last seen by family members around 9 a.m. Saturday. Her 16-year-old sister saw her sleeping in her bed at the Lazy Dazy Retreat RV/Mobile Home on Highway 98 North. The sister fell back asleep, and, when she woke up at 9:45 a.m., the little girl was gone.
Investigators said Hogs had been a longtime family friend but had not seen the family in more than two years. He was asked to leave the family’s home more than two years ago after pulling a gun on the family, Judd said. Hogs showed up on Friday to the house of Rebecca’s grandmother, Oma Mae Lewis, in Polk City.
Judd says Hogs suffers from depression and bipolar disorder.
He had taken off in his mother’s car without her permission. Before being spotted and eventually located in Tennessee, Hogs and the girl were seen in Georgia.
Detectives say that at this time there is no indication Becky was harmed. However, they are investigating. “We’ll do medical screenings, psychological screenings; all of that will occur imminently,” officials said.
Hogs’ next few days are uncertain. “We will also be working between our State Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to see ultimately if he is prosecuted state or federally. That is not my decision,” Judd said.
Becky is supposed to be back in Lakeland Tuesday. The family has planned a party for her safe return.
It’s been a roller coaster of emotions for them during the last few days. “It’s been a long hard road, a very hard road I wouldn’t put any parent through,” said Melissa Schell, Becky’s mother.
“I have went from anger to hate to back to love,” Oma Mae Lewis, Becky’s grandma, said. “The next world is just putting Rebecca back in our arms so ya’ll go get her and bring her back.”
Love is the only word family members had Monday, waiting for the little girl to come home. “I’ll probably never let her go. Joy, love,” said Luther Lewis, Becky’s dad.
West Wild Hogs was booked Monday evening into jail in Shelby County.