Grandma of missing toddler has been in contact with child, mom

Grandma of missing toddler has been in contact with child, mom

YAKIMA, Wash.-- KIMA has new developments in the search for a missing toddler. It's believed she was taken by her mother who was about to lose custody of the girl. Police can't find either of them. KIMA spoke with the family and learned vital information that could help find the three-year-old girl.

April Evans has been watching her granddaughter Ahrianna for a year. Ahrianna's mom, Jaqui, was in the process of handing over custody to April voluntarily before running off with the little girl.

"She bounced back and forth between custodies with mom and dad by neither one of them making proper choices," Evans said.

"Everybody's not perfect, you know, everyone makes mistakes," Ahrianna's uncle Alex Tapia said. 

The problem, police tell KIMA, is that the family missed a meeting with Child Protective Services on Monday to make the custody change. It raised a red flag with social workers who went to check on them. By the time they got there, Jaqui was already gone with her daughter.

"I wasn't here when Jaqui and the baby left," Evans said.

Police say Jaqui has had issues with substance abuse and mental illness. They are some of the reasons police say Ahrianna is in danger.

"I just want Jaqui back actually, you know," Tapia said. "It's not the same without them."

April isn't worried because she tells KIMA she knows where they are.
     
"I've talked to Ahrianna and I have talked to Jackie and they are [saying], 'I'm watching SpongeBob grandma!'" Evans said.

"Is the department aware that the grandmother does know where she is?" KIMA asked.
"I'm not aware of that until you told me," YPD Captain Rod Light said.

That's not making YPD's job any easier. April says she's holding out the information because she doesn't want Ahrianna taken from the family. This move might not help her cause.

Police now say once they're found, the 3-year-old will be taken into mandatory protective custody, likely foster care. Investigators are trying to track their location. They say the two are out of town and possibly out of state.   

Police say they haven't issued an amber alert yet been because the mother still had custody when the child was taken. She no longer has custody so an alert may be issued. Detectives are now looking into whether to take action against the grandmother for withholding information.