Child Missing 5 Years In Custody Dispute Found In Ohio

STREETSBORO, Ohio (AP) - A 6-year-old Greensboro, N.C., girl missing for five years in a custody dispute between her parents has been found in northeast Ohio.

Gail Perkins (pictured, right) was found Saturday with her paternal grandmother in an apartment in this community 25 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Police said the girl appeared to be in good shape.

The girl, who cried as police took her away, was placed in the custody of Portage County Human Services pending a hearing Monday in Juvenile Court.

Nikki Jones, the girl's mother, who lives in Greensboro, was relieved when she found out her daughter had been found and quickly boarded a plane for Ohio.

"I didn't know what to think -- my emotions were all over the place," she said Saturday night.

Jones said the girl's father, Adam Lee Perkins, took her to Alabama in January 1997 to live with him and his mother. She said he was supposed to bring the girl back, but never did.

Jones said she eventually obtained legal custody, reported the girl missing in November and sought help finding her.

Deborah Aylward, an investigator with the HomeFires volunteer agency based in Falls Church, Va., said the girl was largely traced through public records. She notified police about the girl's whereabouts.

Streetsboro police Sgt. Roy Mosley said the grandmother "said she realized this day would come."

No charges have been filed. Police have contacted the Portage County prosecutor about the case.

Mosley said Jones wasn't likely to regain custody of the girl until they became reacquainted.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)