Darlington, SC - DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - A 5-year-old girl who was taken from custody by her biological mother Wednesday morning has been located by law enforcement officials in Lee County.
Officials say Justice Alexandra Deaja Peterson, 5, of Hartsville, was dropped off at the Lee County Sheriff's Office Wednesday afternoon by a relative of a male suspect believed to be involved in the abduction.
Investigators were led to Lee County after the child was spotted in the county earlier Wednesday morning.
Deputies with the Darlington County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a home at 2459 Sampit Dr. in Hartsville around 8:30 a.m. after the child's grandmother reported her missing. The grandmother claimed Peterson was taken by her biological mother, Kimberly Steen, 25.
Steen, according to Peterson's grandmother, did not have custodial rights of the 5-year-old.
Capt. Andy Locklair, spokesman for the Darlington County Sheriff's Office, said deputies were looking for Steen prior to the alleged abduction.
Despite Peterson's safe recovery at the Lee County Sheriff's Office, Steen remains at large. She has been described by police as a white female, standing 5'4" and weighing approximately 98 pounds. Steen is said to have long, red hair.
A second suspect, identified as Johnathen Smith, 29, of Bishopville, is also wanted in connection to the abduction. Smith has been described by authorities as a black male standing 5'7" and weighing approximately 165 pounds.
Investigators allege Smith was seen with Steen and Peterson Tuesday night. Both Smith and Steen are wanted on kidnapping warrants.
Officials with SLED activated the statewide AMBER Alert Wednesday morning after meeting the following criteria:
- There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that the abduction has occurred
- Law enforcement believes the child is in danger of serious bodily injury or death
- There are enough specific details to issue a description of the victim, suspect, manner of abduction and suspect vehicle
- The abducted child is 17 years or younger
Anyone with information on the location of Steen or Smith is asked to call the Darlington County Sheriff's Office or 911 immediately.