PERRY, Ga. - A Florida motorist on Interstate 75 in Central Georgia on Sunday night called 911 to report seeing the car he remembered seeing associated with an Amber Alert, leading to the recovery of the 6-year-old girl and the arrest of her mother, who abducted the girl after a supervised visit Friday afternoon in Jacksonville.
Chris McClure, of Summerfield, Fla., said he spotted Charity Chatman's green Buick with an Ohio license plate as he and his girlfriend were passing through Houston County just after 11 p.m. He remembered the car from the alert he got on his phone and he had just seen billboards showing the victim and car while passing through Atlanta.
Perry, Ga., police say the dispatcher who took McClure's call sent several officers to check it out, and one of them make a traffic stop of Chapman. The officer found Onnika Fisher unharmed, asleep in the back seat.
"I don't think she had any idea that that arrest was being made or anything like that," Perry Police Capt. William Phelps said.
Phelps said Chatman did not try to run or resist arrest. The 39-year-old woman faced a judge in the Houston County jail on Monday and was ordered held on a Duval County warrant for interference with custody. It was not immediately known when she will be transferred back to Jacksonville.
Onnika was already returned to Jacksonville by the Florida Department of Children and Families. DCF spokesman John Harrell said the main focus is making sure the girl is healthy and happy.
"Obviously you're looking at any concerns the child may have, any counseling, any therapy... whatever we can do to help that child be more stable," Harrell said.
McClure told Channel 4 that when he passed the Buick, he thought to himself that it looked like the one in the Amber Alert, and it further raised suspicion because McClure drives a car that used to be a police cruiser and the Buick slowed from 70 to 50 mph when he passed it.
He pulled over, let the car pass, then followed it while calling 911.
"We were up with her until the police arrived," he said. "They were really fast -- maybe 2 or 3 minutes after we called, they were there."
The 911 call taken just before midnight on Sunday from the person who led police to Charity Chatman was released Monday.
Operator: "County 911, what is your emergency?"
Caller: "We got a couple of Amber text alerts about a 2000 dark green Buick Century, and we found the car."
Operator: "Where did you find it at?"
Woman: "Exit 136 SB on I-35, 75, I'm sorry."
Chris McClure and his friend, Brandy, made the 911 call. The couple said they were driving back home to Florida when they received the Amber Alert text in Tennessee.
While driving through Houston County, Ga. headed southbound on I-75, they said they spotted the car matching the alert.
"I was just passing a green Buick and it stood out to me because it has the Ohio plate on it," said McClure. "So I pulled off to the side of the road, waited for her to pass and we pulled up behind it and the tag matched the text, so we called it in."
Operator: "Can you see? Are you behind the vehicle or?"
Operator: "Can you see the tag number?"
Woman: "Yes. FPA-4958."
Operator: "Is it a Florida or Georgia tag?"
Woman: "It's an Ohio tag."
McClure said they continued to follow Chatman for a few more minutes until police arrived and pulled the car over.
The girl was back in state custody Monday night, while her mother remains in Georgia awaiting extradition.
Perry police were just happy to help with the safe recovery of a kidnapped girl.
"The Amber Alert, it works," Capt. Phelps said. "Not only does it work, you have good citizens out there who make it work. The citizens are the ones that will make it work, and that's what happened here in Perry."
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