‘I’m happy’: 5-year-old Ashland girl found safe

‘I’m happy’: 5-year-old Ashland girl found safe
Ariyah Ross (Source: Ashland Police)

ASHLAND, Va. (WWBT) - A five-year-old Ashland girl who was last seen on Wednesday was found safe, according to police.

Aryiah Ross was reported missing on Thursday just before 10 p.m., but police said her whereabouts were unknown since Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Ashland Police said the five-year-old was last seen with a woman named Crystal Pitman. Officers said Pitman is an acquaintance to Aryiah, however the child’s mother, Tori Ross, said she is one of the grandmothers.

“My mother dropped her off at Crystal’s house,” Ross said. “She was giving her a second chance.”

Ross said there were concerning incidents in the past involving the woman, which is why she took to social media in search of her five-year-old daughter.

“She’s a happy girl,” Ross said. “Very friendly, very talkative. I don’t know where she is; she could be in a dangerous situation with people she doesn’t know.”

The child’s family and the Ashland Police Department were concerned after neither party had heard from the woman since Wednesday.

However, Ross said there were sightings of Pitman and the girl in Henrico County on Thursday along Chamberlayne Avenue.

NBC12 was interviewing Ross about the situation when she received a phone call about the good news.

“She was found safe,” a woman said on the other end of the phone.

“I’m so happy,” Ross told NBC12 after hanging up the phone.

“[It was a] tremendous effort on everybody’s part and we are just extraordinarily grateful and happy that she’s back with her family,” said Ashland Police spokesman Chip Watts.

This was a multi-jurisdictional effort involving the FBI Richmond Child Exploitation Task Force, Henrico County Police, Virginia State Police, Hanover County Child Protective Services, and the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

While police provided limited details on where the child and Pitman were over the last few days, Watts said both were found at Pitman’s home in Ashland.

Aryiah has since been reunited with family, however, Ross remained frustrated Friday night.

“She (Pitman) hasn’t been charged with anything,” she said.

Ashland police said early Friday charges had not been filed at that time, but that the investigation was ongoing.

Anyone with more information on this case should call (804) 730-6140.

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