Caption

Crime

Gwinnett child found safe after abduction

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NORCROSS, Ga -- A 4-year-old girl allegedly abducted by her mother has been found safe and returned to her father.

According to Norcross police, Mireida Espinoza-Lemus was playing outside her birth father's house with her babysitter when Gladis Lemus, 30, took the girl. The girl's father, Enrique Espinoza, told police the girl could be in danger based on past experience. 

A Levi's Call, which is Georgia's version of an Amber Alert, was issued shortly after the abduction. Police said the girl was abducted by her mother and another man, and fled the scene in a gray 2009 Ford Flex.

Police said a traffic camera at Jimmy Carter Boulevard captured an actual photo of the car, though they aren't sure whether it was before or after the child was taken.

Around 5:15 pm on Tuesday, Norcross police received a tip that someone saw the vehicle in an apartment complex off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

A man police believed to have been the getaway driver was spotted in the car and taken into custody.

Police said the man told them that Lemus and the child were in his apartment. Police entered the apartment and announced their presence, where Lemus surrendered and the girl was found.

Leumus has been charged with kidnapping and cruelty to children in the 3rd degree. On Thursday, a judge denied bond to Lemus. She'll be back in court on Jan. 31.

Police have not released the name of her male accomplice or announced any charges against him.

Shortly after the abduction, police didn't know whether Lemus was heading out of state. 

"That's one of the reasons we put out the Amber Alert and the BOLO," Norcross Police Sgt. Donald Butynski told 11Alive. "(It's) for the safety of the child, plus to get the surrounding agencies and possibly state agencies involved to keep a look out for the car and also let the public know to keep a lookout for the car."

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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