Truck of Missing Ga. Mom Is Found After Her Toddler Is Seen Wandering Alone in Florida
Police say they've recovered the white Chevy pickup truck driven by a mom from Georgia whose barefoot toddler son was found walking alone in a South Florida parking lot Sunday in a T-shirt and a diaper.
But they are still seeking the public's help to learn anything about the whereabouts of the missing mother, 21-year-old Leila Cavett.
“I am definitely thinking she is danger, just from how Kamdyn was found,” Cavett's sister, Gina Lewis, told the Miami Herald Wednesday after posting images of the 2-year-old boy, identified by authorities as Kamdyn Cavett Arnold, on Facebook.
“It is the most frustrating, heartbreaking thing I have ever had to go through,” Lewis said.
Members of Cavett's family traveled to South Florida from their native Alabama to aid the search and, in a news conference, told reporters they had no idea why Cavett would travel to South Florida from her Georgia residence. On her Facebook page, Cavett lists her current home as Atlanta, and they said she had no known connection to the area where her son -- and her truck -- turned up.
“We’re in the middle of a pandemic,” Lewis said, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “So it’s not like they were taking a vacation out of the blue with the baby. There’s no way.”
According to a news release, police in the Broward County community of Miramar located the truck, but have designated police in nearby Hollywood as the lead agency on the case after reports that Cavett may have been seen near Hollywood Boulevard and US Route 441.
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The child's biological father, 35-year-old Daniel Lee West, of Ellijay, Georgia, is now seeking custody of the child while the search for the missing woman continues.
“I just want Leila and Kamdyn safe,” West told the Herald. “Leila is a great mom. [She] would do anything for our son.”
He said the Florida Department of Children and Families is requiring him to prove his paternity, but Cavett's sister confirmed he is the father, reports the Herald.
West said he and Cavett met two years ago in Georgia, but did not have a lasting romantic relationship. He said he stayed in touch after Cavett and their son moved in 2019 to Alabama and back to Georgia earlier this year, and he financially supported the child.
Cavett was living in Dawsonville, Georgia, with an aunt, according to West, until a disagreement between Cavett and the aunt led Cavett to move in with a friend. In February, a family member filed a police report alleging Cavett had been using crack cocaine at a residential home, the Herald reports.
She had been arrested in 2019 on charges of drug use, according to Alabama court records accessed by the newspaper, but a resolution of the case could not be determined.
Miramar police said the boy is under the care of the Department of Children and Families, and in the care of a foster family. He is reportedly doing fine after being found, although it took two days for police to identify the stranded child who was spotted wandering in the apartment parking lot on Sunday morning.
Anyone with information about the mother's whereabouts is asked to call Hollywood police at (954) 764-4357 or (954) 967-4411.