JACKSON COUNTY, Ga. - UPDATE: Robert "Joey" Peeples is now in police custody. READ MORE HERE.
Police said a missing 1-year-old who was kidnapped from Jackson County by her father was found safe in Gwinnett County on Thursday.
Baylee Sue Peeples' disappearance triggered a statewide Amber Alert on Thursday morning.
Channel 2's Alyssa Hyman was at DFACS tonight when the child's mother left without her daughter. She was visibly upset and didn't want to do another interview.
Hyman called her a few hours later, and all she would say is she did get to see her daughter.
"Baylee's safe. That's the main thing," she said.
Arcade police said Robert "Joey" Peeples took his daughter from a home in Arcade just before 2 a.m. Thursday. Police said Peeples was dropping Baylee off at her grandmother's home when he and her mother, Tiffany Aycock, got in an argument. Police said Peeples refused to let the toddler out of the car.
Police said Peeples hit Aycock with his van as she tried to get Baylee away from him.
Channel 2's Kristen Holloway spoke to an emotional Aycock in the hours before her daughter was found.
“He said if I didn’t get in the van, then I wasn’t going to get her, and she wasn’t staying with me, and I went to get her anyways, and he took off,” the mother said. “I just wish he would bring her home to me.”
UPDATE: I just spoke with Baylee Peeples mom. She told me her daughter’s father was dropping them off at home & when she tried to get Baylee out of the car seat.. he told her no you will never see her again & drove off. The first pic is what Baylee had on when she taken. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/lwW9cXDoRX— Kristen Holloway (@KHollowayWSB) March 28, 2019
"Baylee shouldn't have to go through this," Aycock said. "We shouldn't be going through this. This is not what we are supposed to be doing."
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Police announced at a news conference on Thursday afternoon that Baylee had been located at her grandmother's house in Gwinnett County, where Peeples dropped her off.
Photos released by the sheriff of Baylee after she was found show the smiling toddler holding balloons. Officials said she would be checked by the Department of Children and Family Services before being reunited with her mother.
Channel 2's Rikki Klaus was in Arcade on Thursday night, where two white cars pulled up at the home where Aycock was around 5 p.m. Aycock came out about 15 minutes later holding a baby doll and a girl's backpack.
Klaus talked to Aycock before she left for the planned reunion with her daughter. She told Klaus that now she's focused on seeing her child again.
“I’m going to meet her right now. It’s just too much right here," Aycock said.
Aycock said she was nervous about the reunion but anxious to see her daughter.
"She saved me from the dark times that I was in, and then when she was born, she brought love in my life," Aycock said. "She's what keeps me going."
SEARCH FOR BAYLEE'S FATHER:
Police are still searching for Peeples, who they say took off after dropping his daughter off at his mother's house.
In the news conference Thursday, Arcade Police Chief Randy Williams thanked Peeples for leaving the child safe and said they would like to talk to him.
"I want to say thank you, Joey, for doing what you did. You know, turning Bailey over to a family member to make sure Bailey's safe," Williams said. "We want to hear his side of the story."
Authorities said Peeples, 39, may be in a white, 1993 GMC Vandura van with Georgia tag RIK1620.
Through a records request, Channel 2 Action News has learned that Peeples has previous arrests in Gwinnett, DeKalb, Bartow and Clayton Counties. Records show he has also made threats to his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Aycock.
Peeples is now facing aggravated assault and kidnapping charges.
Police are asking anyone who sees Peeples to contact them by calling Crimestoppers at 404-577-TIPS.
It's unclear if Peeples is armed.
Callers will remain anonymous.
Channel 2 Action News followed Baylee Sue Peeples' abduction from the moments the situation broke early Thursday morning.
The toddler was reported missing around 2 a.m. from a home on Rock Forge Road. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation issued a Levi's Call and an Amber Alert for the little girl just after 6 a.m. and said they believed she could be in grave danger.
Arcade police said they got several tips from across the country on where Baylee could be. Thousands of Channel 2 Action News viewers shared her picture on our Facebook page.
Police announced the child had been found in Gwinnett County around 3 p.m. Thursday at her grandmother's house.
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