Father of 4-year-old: 'I just want to get my daughter'

Father of 4-year-old: 'I just want to get my daughter'
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
Child's family (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
Child's family (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
West Hogs was arrested and taken to the Shelby County Jail. (Source: SCSO)
West Hogs was arrested and taken to the Shelby County Jail. (Source: SCSO)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed that missing 4-year-old Rebecca Lewis has been found safe in Memphis.

According to the Memphis Police Department, an employee at Baptist Memorial Hospital contacted police after recognizing the child and the man who allegedly abducted her from the Amber Alert.

The Amber Alert, which originated in Florida, was issued for 4-year-old Rebecca Lewis on Saturday when she went missing from her home in Lakeland, FL, in Polk County.

Monday, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials updated the alert after a credible possible sighting of Rebecca and 31-year-old West Wild Hogs in Campbell County near Cove Lake State Park.

Later that day, Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida said the suspect had been seen in the Nashville area and near the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

Later, police received the alert from Baptist Hospital in Memphis.

When police arrived, they found the suspect and Rebecca in the garage of the parking lot as they were trying to pull out.

"We received a call from security here at the hospital that said that the individuals in the Amber Alert had been seen inside by an employee," Memphis Police Department spokesperson Lt. Karen Randolph said.

It was a nurse tech at the hospital who alerted security after spotting the two in the hospital.

"They were able to, through the security cameras, see the individual inside and watch him as he left," Randolph said. "So, working together with them, we were able to get the information and locate him."

The suspect, a 31-year-old Florida man named West Wild Hogs, is in custody. Police said he surrendered peacefully to police.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI arrived on scene to handle the investigation and questioning of Hogs.

The largest question right now is why Hogs and Lewis were at the hospital.

A police spokeswoman thanked the public for helping find the child.

"It's great to have the community involved," Rudolph said. "You don't get an Amber Alert every day so when they go out, people pay attention."

The hospital employee that noticed the man and little girl at the hospital posted on Facebook that it was the 'craziest day' of her life.

Today was the craziest day of my life.. as I was walking at the hospital i turned around and noticed a man holding a little girls hand that looked just like the amber alert I saw earlier. I took a quick second look and rushed to go get someone! I'm so happy the security was able to act fast and a catch that man! And I'm so happy the little girl is now safe!

The family was notified by law enforcement of the child's safe discovery.Officials in Polk County, where Rebecca was discovered, gave the family the news. According to law enforcement, they are working to reunite the child with the family.

"Hopefully, they will be arriving soon to take her home," Rudolph said.

The child's family is sending a thank you to everyone in the Bluff City who was involved in finding the 4-year-old safe.

"Thank you everyone out there for bringing Becky back home to us," the child's grandmother Oma Mae Lewis said. "Thank you to the security guard that spotted them. If I could, I would come and hug everyone of your necks."

Lewis said the news that Becky had been found safe took a huge weight off the family.

"Like the world has been lifted off our shoulders," Lewis said.

Rebecca Lewis was seen smiling and jumping into the arms of a Memphis police officer. She is now one step closer to going back home to Florida. That's something her family said they never gave up faith on.

"Keeping faith that Becky would come home," Oma Mae Lewis said.

Luther Lewis, the father of the 4-year-old girl, said he can't wait to get his arms around his daughter and his doesn't want to let her go.

"I just want to get my daughter and bring her home," Luther Lewis said.

Paramedics checked the girl to ensure she is not injured.

Investigators said Hogs was a former family friend who showed up without notice Friday. The family had not heard from him in more than two years.  The next morning, Rebecca and Hogs were gone.

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