(HOUSTON) — A Texas Amber Alert is in effect for 11-year-old Savannah Hurley who police say was abducted by her mother, who has so far eluded police and has now switched getaway cars.
“It was a child custody thing,” Trinity County Chief Deputy Billy Patton told ABC News. “They were going to remove the kid from the mother and the grandmother got involved.”
Patton said that when authorities and Child Protective Services arrived at Shelly Jean Hurley’s house in The Woodlands, Texas, to take Savannah, the little girl was not there.
“The mother jumped in a car and headed to the grandmother’s house,” Patton said. “The grandmother gave the child to the mother and they were gone. They left and we had no idea which direction they went in.”
Patton would not say why CPS was taking Savannah away from her mother. Savannah’s maternal grandmother is in custody for interfering with child custody.
Hurley took off with Savannah in a white Ford pickup truck, but police found that car and said that Hurley is now driving a 1996 maroon Subaru Legacy station wagon with an Alabama license plate.
“We’ve had several people call in, but we have no actual sighting or anything of where they’re at,” Patton said.
Investigators believe the duo initially fled to The Woodlands area and started heading north, according to ABC News’ Houston affiliate KTRK. They think Hurley could eventually be taking Savannah to Florida.
About 200 miles north of The Woodlands, in Greenville, Savannah’s paternal grandmother had been looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with her granddaughter.
“She was supposed to come here today for Thanksgiving and then all this happened and I don’t know what’s going on,” a distraught Janice Hurley told ABC News. “Her mother loves her and would never hurt her. She’s just not thinking straight at all and she’s not doing what’s best for Savannah at all.”
Janice Hurley declined to comment on whether Shelly Jean Hurley is a good mother, saying, “My first concern is Savannah.”
She described Savannah as a “sweet little girl” whose friends and family are worried about her.
“When she lived here, she was in cheerleading and in a gym class and a good student in school,” the grandmother said.
Savannah is 4-feet-10 and weighs 120 pounds. She has brown hair, hazel eyes, a small gap between her front teeth and pierced ears.
“I don’t think she’s in danger. She’s with her mother, but you never know,” Patton said. “You can’t predict that. They’re on the run, so you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
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