Search continues for girl; warrant out for mother
Updated On: Dec 29 2013 11:41:27 PM EST
The search continues from Florida to Ohio for 6-year-old Onnika Fisher, who police say was abducted by her mentally ill mother during a supervised visit in a Dupont office park late Friday.
An Amber Alert was issued Friday night for Onnika Fisher, as authorities are concerned about her safety because of 39-year-old Charity Chatman's history of unspecified mental problems.
On Saturday, a warrant was issued for Chatman's arrest on a charge of interfering with custody.
Officials are urging people to continue to be on the lookout for Onnika and Chatman and pay attention to the Amber Alert information.
"We don't have any indications that she is in danger, but I'm not trying to minimize the seriousness of this," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Assistant Chief Butler said. "Here you have a mother who, basically, the custody was removed from her. She no longer has custody of Onnika. She has sent emails that I would term to be delusional. So, anything is possible."
The Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of the child six weeks ago. In November, Chatman's roommate filed a protective injunction to have the woman kept away from her, and Chatman was recently evicted from her Atlantic Beach home.
Police say the abduction occurred just before 5 p.m. Friday as Chatman wrapped up a supervised visit with her daughter at the Jewish Family and Community Service Center in a Dupont office park.
They hugged and were getting ready to say goodbye to one another when Chatman "basically grabs the child's hand, places the child in the car and drives off," Butler said.
The Florida Department of Children and Families says a caseworker was only feet away at the time, but couldn't stop Chatman.
"She said that she had some gifts for that child in the backseat. And so, it's apparent that she had a plan all along," said DCF spokesman John Harrell.
Since the kidnapping, Jewish Family and Community Services changed their policy and will require visiting moms and dads to say goodbye to their children at the front door. Harrell says it was a necessary move to further prevent something like this from happening again.
"They're very concerned about this incident. We're certainly all very hopeful and continue to pray that this child is found safely," Harrell said.
Police say Chatman and her daughter may be traveling in a 2000 dark green Buick Century with this Ohio tag number: FPA4958.
A photo of the vehicle shows a "trailer hitch receiver" under the rear bumper of her car, the Sheriff's Office said, adding in a statement that it was "a unique feature on this style of vehicle."
Since the car has an Ohio license plate, Butler said it's possible that Chatman could be taking the girl back to Ohio, where she has lived in the past.
Butler said Chatman's family and friends -- including the girl's father in South Florida -- also are sharing details about the mother and Onnika with authorities.
By midday Saturday police said they had received 15 tips, but none led to the safe recovery of Onnika.
"For something like this to happen, for a parent to just run off with a child, it's very brazen, it's very hurtful," Harrell said. "Obviously, you have concerns about what that child may be going through right now."
From billboards to cell phone notifications, people can get information on the Amber Alert through multiple sources.
Another way people are being alerted of the missing child is through receipts like one you can print out from a gas pump. People that Channel 4 spoke with at a local gas station said they think all gas stations need to have this, and that it's easier to see the information while pumping gas than trying to read the information while driving.
"I think that's an absolutely awesome idea because everyone gets receipts stores are required to give you a receipt so no matter what, everyone puts a receipt in their hand and see that little girl's face," said Nicole Warwick. "There might be a better chance of finding her. I think that's an absolutely amazing idea."
Warwick is one of many who thinks all gas stations should have this feature. Some gas pumps have a screen that shows pictures and information on a missing child. You can even print out a receipt that also includes pictures and details.
"I think they should have that at gas stations because so many people are influxing throughout the gas stations so they can see that, and it's a good spot to have it," said Damon Cameron.
Officials said it's important to not only look at the picture of a missing child, but also to read all the information. People that Channel 4 talked with agree.
"The face you can see what they look like but you don't see their height. Someone could be older and look like the girl but it's not her, she's 5 years older or something, so I think it's important to see the height and the weight and all that."
A lot of people said they visit gas stations more often than grocery stores or shopping centers, which is just another reason they think more gas stations should have the unique feature of not only seeing an Amber Alert on a screen, but also being able to print this out and keep it with you at all times.
Police say Onnika is at 3 feet 10 inches tall and weights 53 pounds. She was last seen wearing blue jeans and a pink jacket with white polka dots on the inside collar.
Chatman is a black woman, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. She was last seen wearing a red baseball hat, green jacket and blue jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers, at 877-845-8477.
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