Two good Samaritans scrapped their day plans when they heard about an abducted baby and drove an hour from Hampton, Georgia, to join the search effort. Miraculously, they located the missing girl on the porch of an unsuspecting homeowner.
Donnie Howell and Michael Thomas felt personally compelled to help search for missing 1-year-old Royalty Grisby after she was snatched in the early hours of March 18. Royalty’s mother, Elizabeth, a food delivery agent with Uber Eats, was making a delivery in Stone Mountain, DeKalb County, at around 2 a.m. when a suspect drove away in her keyless maroon 2010 Nissan Armada SUV with the baby inside.
“I have a younger niece, Brooklyn, so it, like, touches my heart to even come out here to help,” Howell told CBS 46, alluding to joining the search efforts.
As the little girl had gone missing, DeKalb County Police Department issued an amber alert. The SUV was later found abandoned at 9 a.m., but with no sign of Royalty.
In a press conference, her desperate mother pleaded, “You can take her to the hospital, take her to a store, just bring her home. I don’t care about anything with the car. I just want my baby back,” according to Fox 5.
With Howell’s window down and no music playing, he and Thomas heard the cry that would herald Royalty’s rescue.
“I knew when she screamed, I just felt like God was telling me that was her,” said Howell, “so I stormed up to the porch and I seen [sic] her crying.” Howell recalled the “heartwarming” moment Royalty seemed to sense she was safe as help arrived.
After following the story, homeowner Anna Henderson claimed she “almost fainted” when the little girl turned up on her property.
Hours after the abduction, Royalty was safely back in her mother’s arms and later declared healthy at a hospital.
However, Howell and Thomas had to convince the authorities of their role in the rescue. “They didn’t believe us originally … the story’s wild,” said Howell, adding, “There’s good people out there.”
“I’m very blessed that God has put Royalty and her mother back together,” he further added.
After some questioning, both Howell and Thomas were released.
Suspect Malachi Richardson, aged 14, was taken into custody. He faces charges of kidnapping and theft of a motor vehicle, reports WSB-TV.
A family friend of the Grisbys started a GoFundMe page, hoping to raise $2,500 for repairs to the SUV and daycare expenses so that Royalty’s mom can leave her baby in care when working. To date, the fund has raised over $27,500.