LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Becky Lewis, 4, who was abducted from her home Saturday morning, reunited with her family in Lakeland Tuesday afternoon. The little girl’s family greeted her at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport the moment she stepped off the plane.
“Thanks for bringing me home!” Becky said.
“Just seeing her walk through the door took a big weight off my shoulders,” her grandmother, Oma Mae Lewis, said. “She is definitely just as excited to be home as we are excited for her to be home.”
“I know it’s only been two hours waiting; it seems like it’s been as long as it was waiting to hear something,” the grandma added.
Family members arrived throughout the morning with balloons to welcome Becky home. Hugs and tears filled the airport when Becky landed.
“Tell them, ‘Bye bye.’ We are going home,” Lewis told her granddaughter.
“Bye, bye. I going home,” Becky said.
Once she got home, a big welcome home party awaited. A family friend helped coordinate the party with the help of a local supermarket.
“I got there, and the bakery has actually paid for the cake for us. The assistant manager has given us balloons. The store manager gave us a gift card yesterday to help get them some food,” the friend, Shannon Lyons, said.
The support didn’t end there. Strangers dropped off stuffed animals for Becky, and people provided food for the family during the trying time.
The family wanted their privacy Tuesday afternoon, but Lyons thanked everyone on their behalf.
“There’s no way this would have gone as far or as fast as it did or had the outcome it (did) had everyone not helped and shared and done what was needed to do to get this little girl home,” she said.
The reunion followed a nerve-racking, gut-wrenching weekend for Becky’s family. It was 48 hours of torture.
The 4-year-old was found Monday with a family friend, 31-year-old West Hogs. An alert security guard and a nurse at a Memphis hospital spotted the two. This came after a nationwide search, spawned by an Amber Alert that began Saturday. Multiple agencies became involved in the search. Relatives hugged members of law enforcement and one another when they heard Becky had been found.
Many questions remain as to why Hogs would take this little girl and go on the run. The two were seen on multiple surveillance cameras throughout the Southeast, as they made their way to Tennessee.
Lewis showed compassion for Hogs.
“Please get the help that’s being offered to you,” she said. “You can tell he took care of her. He made sure she had food. He made sure she had clothes. He definitely needs help.”
Hogs made a court appearance Tuesday morning in Memphis. No date has been set for extradition at this time. The investigation is ongoing