GRESHAM, Ore. -- Gresham Police found a missing 6-year-old girl safe and unharmed early Sunday morning nearly 12 hours after she was reported missing from her apartment complex at 1072 SE Hwy 26.
Police said they arrested the girl's mother in connection with the disappearance after finding the pair hidden away in a room at the Howard Johnson Hotel on Northeast Burnside Road just before 3 a.m. Sunday.
Sara Lea Edmond (mug shot photo at right) was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges including criminal mistreatment, child neglect and filing a false report. Investigators said they're unsure why Edmond reported her daughter missing but that it could be related to a custody dispute between her and the girl's father, Marc Welch.
Welch released a statement Monday, thanking everyone who helped find his daughter.
The statement read:
As most of you are aware, our family is going through a difficult situation. We would like to thank Gresham police and the volunteers who spent hours in the search and investigation efforts. Our daughter is home safe.
The initial report and subsequent activation of search and rescue personnel lead to dozens of people scouring the area where the girl was last seen. That search lasted into the early morning hours Sunday while investigators followed leads which eventually lead to her safe return.
She was reunited with her father after police located her.
Edmond was in court Monday afternoon and a preliminary hearing was set for April 23. She faces a total of six misdemeanors and two felony charges.