Haskell mom recounts emotional experience of reuniting with kidnapped daughter
HASKELL, Texas —
A Haskell woman said that God pulled her through the dark days where she did not know where her abducted daughter was at.
More than a week ago, Shannon Livingston received the news that she had been so anxiously been wanting to hear.
"When we got the call, we were already heading that way because we were going to just be there," Shannon said. "It felt like I could breathe again for the first time. And it was the best phone call I've ever, ever gotten."
Nine-year-old Urijah Livingston was found in Nevada five days after she was reported missing.
The SWAT Team from the Sparks Police Department executed a brazen nighttime rescue operation on August 6 at a homeless tent camp on mountains south of Verdi, Nevada.
After traveling for two hours on ATVs, the SWAT Team found Urijah and her biological mother, Desiree Ward.
Haskell Police Chief Kenny Barnett told KTXS News that Ward kidnapped Urijah.
Shannon Livingston is Urijah's stepmother and has full custody of her, while Ward has visitation rights.
Urijah's biological father is deceased.
Shannon said that the emotional reunion with Urijah happened at a kids’ cottage in Reno.
"Just the best feeling ever, just to see her again and get to actually hold her again and kiss her again," Shannon said.
Police officers found another missing child during the same mission that Urijah was rescued in, which led to the arrest of two other people.
The events that led to the SWAT Team rescue mission began on July 30 when Urijah called Shannon and told her that Ward was not planning to return her to Texas.
Ward had taken custody of Urijah for the summer in late June and was apparently living in Colorado at the time of the custody transfer.
However, Urijah told Shannon during her phone call that she was at a homeless camp in Sparks, Nevada and had not taken a shower in weeks.
That outcry prompted Shannon to call authorities, who responded by conducting a search from Texas to California for her kidnapped daughter.
Ultimately, a tip on August 6 led law enforcement to Urijah's location.
"Just thank you. Thank you to everybody who shared. Thank you everybody who made it where people could see it and get it out there," Shannon said. "Just thank you."
Although just a few weeks ago it was a concept that was impossible to conceive, Shannon said that Urijah is looking forward to starting school.
"I wasn't sure if she'd be back in time for school, so it's a blessing for sure," Shannon said.
Urijah starts fourth grade next week and looks forward to beginning a new chapter in her life.
Ward, on the other hand, will be extradited to Texas, where she will face a charge of interfering with child custody, according to Barnett.