WALTERBORO, SC (WCSC) - Colleton County deputies say tips led them to a 6-month-old girl Saturday night who had been the focus of an Amber Alert issued in Ohio, and the arrest of the girl’s mother.
Alexis Barnes was arrested in Walterboro on an active warrant stemming from the abduction of Barnes' daughter from the Cleveland Heights area of Ohio, according to Colleton County Sheriff’s Maj. J.W. Chapman.
Police in Ohio said Barnes, 26, was on a supervised visit when she walked away with the child.
The Cleveland Heights Police Department issued an Amber Alert for the girl Saturday after Social Services in Ohio reported that Barnes had abducted her, Chapman said. Deputies say Barnes had lost custody of her daughter because a judge had found her to be mentally unfit to provide adequate care for her in July.
At approximately 8 p.m. Saturday, Ohio authorities received information that Barnes and the child might be in the company of another relative in the Walterboro area, Chapman said. Colleton County investigators say they focused their search in an area around Sniders Highway and I-95 that hosts a number of hotels and motels.
Chapman said Colleton County deputies and Walterboro Police located a vehicle in the parking lot of the Baymont Inn & Suites registered to one of Barnes' relatives. After a door-to-door search, investigators recovered the child and took Barnes into custody.
“Nothing brings more smiles and tears to your eyes than the happy ending to a situation like this," Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland said. "I am proud to be a part of the team of hard working men and women that were able to return this baby to a safe and happy home.”
As of Sunday morning, the child is safe and in the custody of local Social Services awaiting recovery to Ohio. Barnes was being held at the Colleton County Detention Center awaiting extradition procedures.