Mother thanks Channel 2 photographer who helped find missing baby

Police say the driver left the child on the side of the road.

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — A mother is thanking the people who helped save her children after they were taken when her car was stolen from a Clayton County gas station Wednesday night.

Police said a man stole the car from the QT on Riverdale Road.

The man dropped the 4-year-old girl on the side of the road, but they believed the 1-month-old was still inside.

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The Georgia State University police chief found the 4-year-old, Arya, close to the gas station.

"There are no homes. There's no safety there at all and out there on the icy roads with cars going by; we're just lucky now that poor child wasn't killed," Chief Joseph Spillane said.


Spillane said his wife was driving him to the airport when he saw the stolen car run a red light. He thought it was a driver who lost control because of the ice. Farther down the road, they saw Arya in distress with one shoe missing.

"She said, 'Somebody took my mama's truck and my little sister is inside,'" Spillane said. "She was obviously upset and crying and really worried about her little sister."

After a massive search, her sister, named Ava, was recovered a few hours later when Channel 2 Action News photographer Brian Ferguson spotted the infant on the side of the road on South Fulton Parkway.

"When I had both of them back I was just happy," the children's mother, Precious Wilmer, said. "I held them all night, literally."

Ferguson got to officially meet Ava Thursday night.

"If his memory wasn't the way it was, she would have been out there and Lord knows what would have happened," Wilmer said.

Channel 2 Action News obtained surveillance video of the man police believe stole Wilmer's car.

Police say he dumped it near an apartment complex on Metropolitan Parkway in southwest Atlanta.

Police are still searching for the man.

Wilmer said she is upset with herself for leaving her children in the running car at the gas station. She said she only did it because it was cold.

"I felt guilty because of what happened. I advise people don't do it," she said.