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Abducted child recovered by US Marshals after being tracked across 3 states

A 3-year-old child was abducted by mother and grandmother, who fled due to child abuse allegations on Nov. 19.
Credit: 12 News
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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The U.S. Marshals Service located a 3-year-old child, who was kidnapped by his mother and grandmother, after the mother was being investigated for child abuse.

They fled Arizona on Nov. 19 and traveled through three states before being apprehended on Wednesday. 

On Nov. 19, the Flagstaff Police Department contacted the U.S. Marshals Service about a child abduction. 

The child's mother, 29-year-old Ashley Thomas, was ordered to have no contact with her child following a child abuse investigation, deputies said. 

The child was placed in the care of their grandmother, 45-year-old Shawn Johnson, who allegedly allowed Thomas to see the child, deputies said. 

The 3-year-old showed signs of severe abuse including a lacerated liver. 

Because Thomas was seeing the child against law enforcement orders, the Coconino County Superior Court issued an order to pick the child up and place them in the custody of the Department of Child Services.

Thomas and Johnson failed to turn the child over and fled the state, deputies said. 

On Nov. 25, officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department located Johnson, but Thomas and the child were not there.

Johnson was arrested and refused to provide information on the child's whereabouts, deputies said. 

On Nov. 30, the U.S. Marshals Service received information that Thomas was possibly in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

At around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, officers arrested Thomas at a residence in Oklahoma City. The child was safely recovered. 

Johnson and Thomas are awaiting extradition to Coconino County. 

United States Marshal David Gonzales said in a statement: 

“Child abduction investigations, especially those involving family members can be very confusing and complicated. Our focus is the health and safety of the child.”