LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on 4-year-old Florida girl who was taken from her home by a 31-year-old family friend named West Wild Hogs (all times local):
Authorities in several states are searching for a 4-year-old central Florida girl who a sheriff says was taken from her home by a longtime friend of her family.
Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, said at a news conference Monday that a 31-year-old man who legally changed his name to West Wild Hogs took Rebecca Lewis on Saturday morning.
“Here’s a message for West Wild Hogs: don’t you hurt that baby,” Judd said. “You keep her safe.”
Earlier, Judd pleaded with the public to help search for the girl. The sheriff says he’s “not above a bunch of good ol’ boys grabbing that 4-year-old girl.”
Judd says Hogs is a friend of Rebecca’s family but said he’d been asked to leave the family’s home over two years ago after pulling a gun on them.
Hogs and the girl were spotted at a gas station in Georgia on Saturday, he said, adding a park ranger reported seeing them in Tennessee on Sunday night.
An Amber Alert was issued.
Investigators from Florida to Tennessee are now searching for a 4-year-old girl they say was taken from her home in central Florida by a longtime family friend.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says it received a “credible report” of a sighting of Rebecca Lewis and 31-year-old West Hogs on Sunday night.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida says a park ranger in Campbell County, Tennessee, reported seeing a man and child matching the description of Hogs and Rebecca on Sunday night.
The pair was spotted at a gas station in Forsyth, Georgia, on Saturday evening in a car with a stolen Alabama license plate.
Authorities say Hogs took Rebecca from her home Saturday morning. A 16-year-old sister says she saw Rebecca sleeping about 9 a.m. but when she woke up again 45 minutes later, she was gone.