Arizona Mother Searches for Missing Toddler
(PHOENIX) — An Arizona mother is desperately searching for her 2-year-old daughter, who, she says, has been missing since Feb. 22.
Athena Manuma, 22, said she dropped off her daughter, Ava Enlow, with the toddler’s father, Brent Anderson, on Feb. 18 and was supposed to pick her up four days later. Anderson, 31, never showed up, and Manuma said she has not seen or heard from him since.
“It was a normal drop-off,” Manuma told ABC News. “There were no words, no nothing. Just, ‘I’ll see you on Wednesday, Ava,’ but I didn’t get her on Wednesday.”
Manuma called Phoenix police, who officially listed Ava as missing.
Police are calling the incident a case of “custodial abduction” and have issued an arrest warrant for Anderson, who recently lost his job and is facing financial hardship. His family and friends have been unable to reach him and do not know his intentions with Ava, according to Phoenix police.
“I don’t know anything. He did not want me to know anything,” Anderson’s mother, Melinda Barros, told ABC News. “I know she is fine wherever she is at with my son.” Still, Barros said she has not spoken to her son since Feb. 14.
Manuma and Anderson went through years of court disputes before settling on a custody agreement, Barros said. The two have shared custody of Ava.
“He should have never had to go through what he has gone through,” Barros said. “It has pushed him to the limit where he has to take off.”
During past visits, Anderson took Ava to the park and to see animals, Barros said. He did not tell her what he planned to do with Ava this time.
Anderson married on Feb. 11, Barros said. She and Manuma said they speculate that he could be on his honeymoon.
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