Man arrested in connection with abduction of 4-month-old girl from NC daycare

BLADENBORO, N.C. — Deputies said a 4-month-old girl is safe after she was abducted by her biological mother from a North Carolina daycare Monday afternoon.

Officials said an Amber Alert was issued for Lonnisha Askew Tuesday morning after she was abducted by her mother, 22-year-old Juanita Askew, around 5 p.m. Monday at the Little Hands Daycare near Bladenboro.

The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office said family members convinced Juanita Askew to surrender the girl near a bus station in Lumberton Tuesday afternoon, and when she handed the baby over, undercover officers arrested her and an unidentified male friend.

"As soon as the child was turned over to the family member, the mother left. As she was leaving, she was stopped," Larry Guyton, with the Bladen County Sheriff's Office said.

(Lonnisha Askew, Juanita Askew)

Deputies said the unidentified man with Juanita Askew at the time of the arrest was released.

On Thursday, Lonnie Williams, 29, of Tabor City, was arrested without incident for his involvement in the abduction.

According to deputies, an arrest warrant was issued for Williams Wednesday after learning Juanita Askew dropped him off somewhere in Columbus County after they abducted her daughter.

Williams is in the Bladen County Detention Center under a $300,000 secured bond. Williams had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation and was also charged with abduction of a child.

After dropping off Williams, deputies said Juanita Askew drove to Hoke County and stayed with a friend before meeting her family in Lumberton to drop off Lonnisha Askew.

(Lonnie Williams)

Lonnisha Askew has been in the custody of the Columbus County Department of Social Services since she was born and had been in a foster home in Bladen County.

Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker said Juanita Askew went to the daycare Monday and told the staff she had a scheduled visit with Lonnisha. When staff members were not looking, deputies said Juanita Askew snatched the girl and took off.

Detectives said the baby was in the care of DSS because Juanita Askew has violent tendencies and she's not allowed to have unsupervised visits with the child.

The baby girl is back safely in DSS care and is expected to be OK.

Juanita Askew has been charged with abduction of a child. She faced a judge Wednesday and was appointed a lawyer. She remains in Bladen County jail under a $500,000 bond.

According to our sister station WWAY, Juanita Askew is the sister of Chauncey Askew, who was charged with the murder of North Carolina State Trooper Kevin Conner in October 2018.

Anyone with information on Williams' whereabouts is asked to contact Bladen County Sheriff's Office or a local law enforcement agency.

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