A 3-year-old girl missing since Halloween was found unharmed in the Denver area yesterday afternoon, ending an eight-day odyssey that began when she was abducted from her mother on a D.C. street, authorities said.
FBI agents, working on a tip, tracked the girl's alleged abductor to a shopping center in Aurora, southeast of Denver, where she had gotten a part-time job earlier this week.
Rita Shirley Peaks, 31, was charged with kidnapping and held without bond at the Denver City Jail, said FBI special agent Robert Pence. An extradition hearing is set for Tuesday.
An hour after Peaks was arrested, the girl, Maqweta Nikole Butler, was driven to the shopping center by a man who dropped her off and sped away, Pence said. The girl was turned over to Denver social service officials and is scheduled to be reunited with her mother, Linda Butler, today in Denver.
Authorities said from the outset that the kidnapping appeared to be a result of a custody dispute, but have not provided details. Pence said Peaks and the girl's father, both of whom live in Arizona, know each other but there is "no indication that he is involved."