Child in stolen vehicle reunited with parents
Indianapolis Metro Police are looking for a man who drove off with a neighbor's car while her young child was in the back seat.
After a frantic search Thursday night, the girl was located by police in the lobby of an apartment building at 1304 N. Delaware. Officers texted a picture of the girl to her mother, Emily Voss, who confirmed the child's identity.
Voss told police she was clearing snow from her driveway on the east side of Indianapolis around 6 p.m., preparing to leave, with her 18-month-old daughter Lilly in the car to stay warm. She said a neighbor, 18-year-old Donald Nixon, identified himself and asked to use her cell phone. She said she let him sit in the passenger seat of the car to stay warm.
She said Nixon made a couple phone calls, gave her the phone back, then worked his way into the driver's seat of the car and began to drive away.
Voss said she yelled to Nixon that he could have the car, but "just leave my baby!"
Detectives located Nixon's father, Roosevelt Harper, and determined he was the recipient of Nixon's attempted phone calls from Voss' cell phone.
Harper said his son was released about a week ago from a mental health facility for issues stemming from diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia. He also said his son did not know the Indianapolis area and was unsure where he may have headed.
Shortly before 7:30 p.m., Charles Ellison found the girl at the downtown apartment complex. She was sitting alone, only wearing one shoe.
"I was surprised. I thought I was seeing things. I said, 'I better call police'," Ellison said.
Officers raced to the building. In minutes, Lilly was safe in the arms of police officers. They sent cell phone photos of the little girl to her mother, who made the positive ID.
"I'm glad police came here. They calmed her down, gave her a little teddy bear and everything," Ellison said.
Then Lilly's mother arrived in a police car, thanked folks, and took the little girl home.
"I just want to thank everyone for praying and keep their eyes out for her," Voss said as she left the apartment building with the child in her arms.
"I feel real good about myself. I was real happy she got reunited with her mom," Ellison said.
Police checked cars out front of the building looking for the one the girl disappeared in, but had no luck.
Donald Nixon is described as an 18-year-old black male, 5'8" tall, wearing a maroon and yellow jacket with multi-tone sweatpants and a dark stocking cap.
The vehicle is a tan 2001 Buick Century with Indiana plate 995AOP. There is damage on the right side of the vehicle.
Back on the east side, David Voss was at work when he got the frantic call from his wife about the stolen car and their missing daughter. He rushed home and waited for news from police.
"The worst feeling you'll ever have. I mean, there's nothing worse than thinking that your youngest is...or any of your kids is just missing," said David Voss. "I mean, you don't know where it's at. It's the worst time of the year for something like that."
In the moments before police and his wife pulled up at home, David Voss was full of anticipation at seeing his little girl.
"It will be better when I see her, but knowing that she's safely found, who cares about the car?" said Voss. "I just want her back here. That's all I care about."
His wish came true moments later.
Wide-eyed and quiet, wearing her bright pink tutu, Lilly emerged from a police cruiser in the arms of an IMPD officer, who gave her to her mother. Emily carried her daughter to David, who came out to meet them and kiss his little girl.