CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The 6-year-old Cumberland County girl who went missing from her bus stop on Tuesday has been safely located. Authorities say she was taken by her mother, who is now in custody for a shooting in Farmville.
When young Yarah Atiya Thomas disappeared late Tuesday afternoon, deputies with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office immediately started looking for her. When they couldn’t find her, they shared her picture on Facebook.
After she was found Wednesday afternoon, the department credited the power of the public social media for bringing her home safely.
“We were very concerned,” Sheriff Darrell Hodges told 8News. “Where was she? Was she safe?”
A school bus driver who dropped Thomas off at her grandmother’s house on Tuesday told investigators the girl got into a car with two women she seemed to know. As it turns out, one of them was her mother, Laila Johnson, who has been wanted in connection to a shooting outside of a Farmville business. Since she was considered armed and dangerous, deputies were worried.
“Anytime you have a shooting suspect, you want to get that individual off the street as soon as possible for the general public’s safety,” sheriff Hodges said. “Then with the missing child, the child’s safety was the primary concern.”
Deputies said late Tuesday morning, an anonymous tip deputies in Prince Edward County to Johnson, who ultimately told them where they could find young Yarah.
“She looked very happy, very healthy,” sheriff Hodges said. “Only thing she told me was she was looking forward to seeing her friends in school tomorrow.”
Johnson was taken into custody and remains in the Piedmont Regional Jail.