Missing North Carolina mother, child found after 5 years

January 27, 2022 GMT

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A mother and child missing for more than five years have been found safe in North Carolina, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Fayetteville police said Miracle Smith was 1 year old when she and her mother, Amber Renaye Weber, disappeared in December 2016, a news release said. Officers searched for clues about the disappearance and eventually turned to the U.S. Marshals Service for help.

On Feb. 26, 2021, Fayetteville police asked the marshals service to help them find the missing child and mother who they said were victims of previous physical abuse, according to a news release.

Investigators determined that the missing child and mother were located in Bunnlevel, about 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Raleigh. They were believed to be associated with a man who was ultimately charged by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The man was taken into custody without incident.

Marshals working with the ATF and Harnett County Sheriff’s Office found and recovered the missing child at a residence in Bunnlevel Jan. 25 and turned the child and her sibling over to the Harnett County Department of Social Services to provide victim assistance.