North Las Vegas police wanted to send a message on Saturday to the mother of a 3-year-old girl who was abducted last week after a Fourth of July gathering.
Katies Nevaeh Battle was abducted by her biological mother, 35-year-old Shelley Mitchell, during a family event at Katies’ father’s apartment complex in the 2100 block of North Las Vegas Boulevard on July 5.
North Las Vegas police spokeswoman Chrissy Coon said Mitchell can leaves Katies with staff at any area hospital, no questions asked, if fear of arrest is preventing Mitchell from turning the girl in.
Police say Katies’ foster mother dropped the girl off at her father’s house for a scheduled visit Friday night and the 26-year-old father reported her missing on Saturday.
The disappearance followed a battle with Child Protective Services in which the child was removed from her parents’ custody and placed in foster care.
On Saturday, Coon said police had been communicating with Mitchell consistently since Katies’ disappearance. Mitchell told police that she took Katies because she believed the girl was in an abusive situation in foster care. Mitchell posted pictures on her Facebook page of a rash on a small child and said Katies got the rash while in foster care.
But the fact that she will not turn the girl over or file an official report documenting the allegations diminishes her credibility, Coon said. To make matters worse, Mitchell stopped communicating with police on Saturday, and police cannot confirm Katies has not been harmed.
Other recent pictures posted on social media of Katies have been confirmed to be weeks old, Coon said.
Police do not have much evidence to lead them to think Mitchell would harm Katies, but, if she does not cooperate, Mitchell will likely hurt her chances of having her parental rights restored, Coon said.
Katies Battle is described as an African-American girl, 36 pounds, 2 feet tall and has black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a pink-and-green shirt with a flower in the middle and green leggings.
Mitchell is described as an African-American woman standing about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing 155 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
She often visits the Henderson area near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road, police said.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Katies Battle or Shelley Mitchell should call the North Las Vegas Police Department at 633-9111 or Nevada Child Seekers at 702-458-7009.