West Virginia girl found in Mexico, mother facing charges

Josephine Craft was found safe in Mexico. | Credit: WDTV
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WDTV/AP) — Federal officials say a missing West Virginia girl has been found in Mexico and her mother is facing charges.

The U.S. Marshals Service on Wednesday announced it located 6-year-old Josephine Craft and her mother at a hotel in Mexico City with the help of Mexican authorities Tuesday.

The girl was reported missing on July 20 after her mother didn't return her to her custodial parent after a scheduled visitation. Days later, an emergency protective order and a warrant were filed against the mother, charging her with concealment of a child.

Her disappearance was investigated by West Virginia State Police and U.S. Marshals.

"Mexican authorities and Deputy Marshals were able to locate her in a hotel with her mother, Shirley Murray," said J.C. Raffety, U.S. Marshal of the Northern District of West Virginia.

Authorities say the girl is in good condition and is being returned to her father in the U.S. The mother hasn't hired a lawyer.

The Crafts – Josephine's custodial parents – had been trying to get a hold of Murray, but to no avail. They say they were assured by law enforcement that Josephine was OK, but the fear of where she was circulated in their thoughts daily.

"I was afraid she was going international with her and it would be hard to get her back," said her father, James Craft.

The call they'd been waiting for came on Tuesday night. Immediately, they jumped in the car and drove through the night to New York to reunite with their little girl.

"Miranda was sleeping and I woke her up and said 'Hey, get a pencil and get ready to take information down," said James Craft.

"I was jumping up and down. I couldn't wait to tell my family and friends who have stuck beside us. I was just like, 'get in the car, it's time to go,'" said Miranda Craft.

Earlier this month, an Amber Alert was issued for missing 4-year-old Gracelynn Scritchfield, who was also taken by her biological parent.

"Last year, we recovered over 250 children," said Raffety.

The Crafts say when Scritchfield was found it was nothing but reassuring to them about the outcome of their similar situation.

"For them to find her in a remote part of Texas, I thought it was pretty reassuring and I felt really confident that we were going to get Josephine back," said James Craft.

"Love her and tell her how much we love her and how much we missed her," said Miranda Craft.

At 1:09 p.m., her plane landed in New York, where she was welcomed by her parents and her favorite stuffed animals.

She will be starting the first grade in a few days.