UPDATE: Authorities say missing 4-year-old Florida girl has been found in Tennessee, suspect in custody.
LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) – 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.