Two little girls kidnapped from a Burger King on Sunday lunchtime are feared to be in “extreme danger,” as police searching for the children have named the suspected abductor.
An Amber Alert was issued after 4-year-old Kylann Harper and 11-year-old Kylie Horne were taken from the fast food restaurant at 7301 Veterans Parkway in Columbus, Georgia, shortly after 11:50 a.m. Authorities say the children are believed to be in the custody of Mikaela Harrell, 49. They did not reveal whether the woman was known to the children; Newsweek has reached out to Columbus Police Department by email seeking further information and comment.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), there were 359,094 reports of missing children last year—although it should be noted that some of those numbers are repeat entries for children who ran away multiple times. Whereas hundreds of thousands of children and juveniles are reported missing each year, analysis by Reuters suggests that the vast majority (more than 95 percent) are runaways who are found relatively quickly. Abduction by a non-custodial parent or a relative accounts for most of the remaining cases, and just 0.1 percent are reported as being abducted by a stranger.
Harrell is said to have driven the children away in a 2011 blue/gray Honda CRV SUV with a Georgia tag of TGS7835. She was thought to be heading towards Ocilla, Georgia.
Detectives later issued new information, saying the trio are now thought to be traveling in a 2004 Gold Lexus with a Georgia tag of SBZ8631. Officers published photos of Harrell, the girls, and the vehicles involved in the suspected abduction on social media in a bid to help them find the children.
The NCMEC issued Amber Alert posters for both girls, saying they are “believed to be in extreme danger.”
Local news channel Fox 5 Atlanta reported that another woman—who the outlet named as the girls’ mother Kaila Spires—was also considered a suspect in the case. Spires’s photograph was included in the NCMEC missing persons’ posters for the children, although no mention was made of her role in their disappearance. The connection between Spires and Harrell remains unclear, and police made no mention of Spires in their social media alerts as they appealed for the public’s help to find the children. Newsweek is seeking further clarification from police.
Kylie is described as a white girl with straight, shoulder-length, brown hair and brown eyes. She is 4′9″ and weighs 75 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, gray sweatpants and white Croc shoes.
Kylann is described as a white girl with red hair and green eyes. She is 3′4″ and weighs 35 pounds. She was last seen wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants, although no further description of her outfit was available.
Harrell is described as a white woman, who has straight, brown hair and brown eyes. She is 5′7″ and weighs 158 pounds.
Anyone with information about Harrell or the girls’ whereabouts should contact the Columbus Police Department on 706-987-0994.