Toddler taken from family in Memphis found in Jefferson County, IL

Toddler taken from family in Memphis found in Jefferson County, IL

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (KFVS/AP) - Memphis police say a toddler at the center of an Amber Alert has was found safe in Illinois.

Police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph says Illinois State Police located 8-month-old Samiyah Nicholes at about 9:20 a.m. Friday along with the three people investigators suspect took her.

The child's mother reported the girl kidnapped about three hours earlier when three people snatched her daughter from an EconoLodge in Memphis.

According to a news release, the Illinois State Police was later contacted by Missouri Highway Patrol (MHP) who believed the suspects were traveling in a 2005 Ford and may have entered Illinois state lines at approximately 8 a.m. Illinois State Police officers and investigators immediately saturated Interstate 57 in search of the suspected vehicle.

The ISP Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center (STIC) suggested due to information that the suspects were traveling in a 2005 Ford 4-door vehicle, owned by a relative. At approximately 9:15 a.m., an ISP trooper located the vehicle near milepost 103, and with the assistance of other agencies, including deputies from the Jefferson County and Marion County Sheriff's Departments, the 2005 Ford was stopped near milepost 106 without incident and the infant was safely recovered unharmed. The infant was immediately transported to an area hospital for further evaluation.

Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau praised the quick thinking and fast response of the ISP troopers and other agencies involved. "An infant child was placed in harm's way and law enforcement wasted no time in apprehending these dangerous and careless individuals," Grau said.

Three suspects were taken into custody and have been identified as Brandon M. Wright, 28, Homewood, Illinois; Betty Jo Mitchell, 27, Muncie, Indiana; Samuel Nichols, 29, Chicago, Illinois. Samuel Nichols is believed to be the biological father. Wright and Mitchell have been released and Nichols remains in custody in the Jefferson County Jail on an unrelated warrant. Formal charges are pending for all three subjects.

Samiyah Nichols was released from an area hospital in good condition and remains in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.

The collaborative effort that lead to the arrest of the three subjects and safe recovery of the child, who wasn't hurt.

Law Enforcement participating included officers from ISP Zone 7, District 12, District 13, District 22, Air Operations, STIC; Illinois Secretary of State Police; Jefferson County Sheriff's Department; Marion County Sheriff's Department; Missouri Highway Patrol; Memphis, Tennessee Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Police say a disagreement between the trio and the child's mother sparked the incident.

Information from: WMC-TV,

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.