Georgia teen arrested, accused of driving away with 1-year-old girl
The child was reunited with her mother more than 12 hours after she was kidnapped.
A 1-year-old girl at the center of an abduction case in Georgia after her mother’s car was stolen has been found safe and in good health, DeKalb County police confirmed on Thursday.
Royalty Grisby was reunited with her mother Elizabeth Grisby more than 12 hours after the baby was kidnapped on March 18 by 14-year-old suspect Malachi Richardson. Grisby often works making deliveries at night and told reporters her daughter sleeps while she does. She was making a DoorDash drop and left the keyless car running, with the doors unlocked and keys in her pocket as she went to the front door. That’s when Richardson jumped into the SUV and took off with Royalty inside.
“I had my keys in my pocket, and the only reason I didn’t lock the door was because I was in a residential neighborhood, a nice neighborhood,” the mother said, per ajc.com “I didn’t think anything like that would happen.”
Grisby said she ran after her maroon Nissan Armada for as long as she could. The incident reportedly occurred at 1207 Harvest Dale Court in Stone Mountain around 2 a.m. Investigators believe the DoorDash order was a setup to steal the vehicle.
“I just want my baby home,” Grisby told reporters during a news conference before the child was found. “That’s it. I just want her. You can take her to the hospital. You can take her anywhere. You can take her to a store. Just bring her home.”
An amber alert was issued for Royalty around 7 a.m., five hours after Grisby reported the kidnapping. Her SUV was found around 9 am in a neighborhood in Lithonia. The tags had been switched and there was no sign of her daughter. Police arrested Richardson off Bolton Road in Atlanta by early afternoon and continued the search for the child until they received a promising tip that led them to the baby less than an hour later.
“We received a call from a homeowner who had been alerted by a passerby that a baby was crying on her porch. When she came out, she found the baby matched the description of baby Royalty,” DeKalb police chief Mirtha Ramos said in a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Royalty was found on the porch of a home on Stoneleigh Hill Road in Lithonia, about 25 miles from where Richardson was apprehended. Police believe someone other than the teenage suspect left the baby on the porch. Mom and child were reunited at the location where the child was found before Royalty was taken to the hospital as a precaution, according to the report. Ramos said the child appeared to be in good health.
“Thank you to all who shared,” Ramos said in a news release. “One-year-old Royalty Grisby has been located safe and returned to her mother!”
“It’s just a good day to know we have a baby back in the arms of its mother and the subject in custody,” said Mirtha Ramos, DeKalb police chief, at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Richardson has been charged with kidnapping and theft by taking. Investigators are not ruling out the possibility of a second suspect.
Police have reached out to the public asking for additional information. Tipsters can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000. Contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.
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