Mother of child allegedly kidnapped by grandfather speaks out
Wed, 21 Aug 2013 21:32:31 GMT —
Horry County sheriffs deputies, with help from the US Marshals Task Force, arrested a wanted fugitive by the Los Angeles Police Department Tuesday for stealing his grandson, and the child's mother tells us it was hard not knowing where her son was for 2 years.
Donald Eugene Byrd, 59, was arrested at an apartment on the 400 block of 17th Avenue South in Myrtle Beach Tuesday afternoon, after a tip was given to the sheriff's office saying he might be in Horry County.
The grandson was also at the home and has been taken safely into protective custody.
Byrd took his grandson from the child's mother's home and has been on the run for more than 2 years, deputies said.
"For 2 years I've been waiting on a phone call to say we got him, he's safe and the phone calls just weren't coming," said Stephanie Byrd, mother of the now 15-year-old.
According to our ABC affiliate in Naples, Florida, Byrd and his wife have a permanent residence in Naples.
They said after a nasty three year custody battle, Byrd's grandson was taken from his grandparents there, and returned to his mother who lives in Los Angeles.
Stephanie Byrd now just wants her son to know how much he's loved.
"I don't know what they've told him over the last 2 years, I don't know what he's been through but no matter what Zachary needs a hug and he needs to know he's loved," she said.
Shortly after her son went missing, Stephanie hired Victor Ortino, a private investigator, to help her find her son.
Ortino says in this case persistence paid off.
"Persistence on our part and getting kind of laxidazical on their part. Making contact with certain people and being seen," Ortino added.
For now, Stephanie is happy there is an end to all of the madness and looks forward to finally seeing her son.
"He's only got a few short years before he has to go into the world and he's been hidden from the world for so long and that's going to be tough, it's going to be tough," she said.