A missing Florida girl was spotted in Georgia on Saturday hours after being kidnapped from her home, authorities said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said surveillance footage captured 4-year-old Rebecca Lewis and a man named West Wild Hogs at a gas station at around 6:30 p.m. in Forsythe.
Hogs, who changed his name from Matthew Clark Pybus, was a family friend and hadn’t seen the girl in several years, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Hogs being sought by several agencies on kidnapping charges. She was seen on gas station surveillance footage wearing a pink dress and multicolored pants. Hogs was wearing a collared shirt and blue jeans.
The FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Polk County officers are searching for the pair. A $3,000 reward has been offered for information about the Hogs and the toddler.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Scott Wilder said it was still unclear why Hogs took Lewis.
“The whole family is pretty torn up and very emotional. They just want to know why because they don’t understand why he would have taken her,” he said.
The paper reported that Hogs has no known criminal history and authorities have no information to suspect that Hogs would hurt the girl.
We haven’t found any specific threat against the family or the child or found any reason to believe he’ll harm her, but we don’t know. We’re of course very concerned and will be until she’s found safe and brought back home,” Wilder said.
Hogs’ mother had been good friends with the girl’s grandmother for years and Hogs knew her parents and had spent some time with them in the past. Hogs was near Lakeland on Friday asking where Rebecca’s parents were living, Wilder said. That’s when Hogs’ mother made the connection.
Authorities said it doesn’t look like Hogs broke in to take Rebecca and that he could’ve called out for her. They said Rebecca is a friendly toddler who warms up to people quickly.
According to Fox 13 News, Rebecca’s parents Luther Lewis and Melissa Schell addressed reporters and Hogs directly.
“Matt we’re not mad at you. Let her come home. She’s my baby and I’m worried sick about her please I’m begging,” Lewis said.
Anybody with information on Rebecca or Hogs is urged to call 911 or 877-419-0934