Toddler safe after dad reported her missing; mom taken into custody in Meck County

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — A toddler reported missing in July and believed to have been taken by her non-custodial mother has been found, police said. Her mother was taken into custody.

Three-year-old Samalea Daniels’ father reported her missing to the Virginia Beach Police Department on July 14. He said he believed her mother, Tianna Daniels, had taken Samalea from Mecklenburg County and brought her to Virginia Beach.


Channel 9′s Madison Carter uncovered records showing that Samalea’s mother is accused of taking off with her the same day her father legally established custody.

Virginia Beach police said Tianna Daniels was taken into custody in Mecklenburg County on Wednesday for an outstanding warrant.

Samalea has since been safely reunited with her father, Jalen Davis, police said. Davis spoke to Carter Monday, calling the reunion “everyone’s prayers answered.”

Samalea, who Davis calls “Molly,” even said hi to Carter.

Davis said his relentless paper trail brought his daughter home. He had gotten judges in North Carolina and Virginia, where Samalea was last seen, to declare she should be in his care.

He told Carter lawyers finally advised getting a judge to hold her mother in contempt for failing to show up for hearings.

Last week, Davis’ lawyer told him to get to the courthouse to meet Molly and her mother.

“She was asleep when she was brought to me, so she just kind of woke up in my arms, and she was just like, you know, ‘Hey, daddy.’ I was like, ‘Hey, How you been?’ you know, just -- we’re just catching up,” Davis said. “She’s gotten a little bit bigger. I have to buy a whole new wardrobe and had to buy her new TV and new shoes. But other than that, I mean, everything’s been great.”

Davis said there’s one more custody hearing to tackle but a date hasn’t been set.

In the end, he said the most important thing is that Samalea is happy, she’s healthy, and the priority now is getting her back into a normal routine.

Tianna Daniels, according to the Mecklenburg County jail website, was released from jail Monday evening after being held on a contempt of court and a misdemeanor assault charge. It’s not clear if those charges are related to this case.

(WATCH BELOW: Investigators find abandoned SUV in search for missing toddler)

Madison Carter

Madison Carter, wsoctv.com

Madison is an investigative reporter and anchor for Channel 9.

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