MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX 13) - An alert security guard in Tennessee spotted the stolen car mentioned in a multi-state Amber Alert this afternoon, leading to the safe recovery of a kidnapped Florida girl and the arrest of her accused abductor.
"West Wild Hogs is in the pen," Polk County Sheriff Judd said, referring to the man suspected of kidnapping Rebecca Lewis over the weekend. "The Memphis Police Department has him under arrest."
The news came more than 48 hours after the 4-year-old vanished from her Lakeland home. Her 16-year-old sister saw her sleeping at about 9 a.m. Saturday morning; around 9:45, the sister woke back up and the little girl was not in her bed.
According to Rebecca's parents, they searched the area for over an hour before calling law enforcement. An Amber Alert was issued later that afternoon.
Deputies said surveillance video captured images of Hogs with the girl inside a Lakeland McDonald’s restaurant shortly after the abduction. Authorities said the pair spent 30 minutes inside the restaurant eating breakfast.
The two later resurfaced on video at a Forsyth, Georgia BP gas station.
In Tennessee, investigators determined a park ranger made contact with a man and child matching the description of Lewis and Hogs late Sunday night. Authorities said the ranger had not received information about the Amber Alert before allowing them to head on their way.
Monday, the security guard at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis spotted the silver Nissan Versa and called police.
"Within minutes, the Memphis Police Department arrived, took West Wild Hogs into custody, and rescued Rebecca," Judd continued, crediting the Amber Alert and its spread on social media with helping end the case.
Polk County detectives and FDLE agents are heading to Memphis to talk to Hogs, who is expected to appear in a Tennessee court before likely extradition back to Florida to face either state or federal charges.
The 31-year-old, who had changed his name from Matthew Clark Pybus, was described as friend of the family, but it was not immediately clear what his motive may have been. He hadn't seen the girl in several years, Judd said, before he drove off with the her in a car he stole from his mother in Alabama.
Rebecca, meanwhile, did not appear to have been harmed. She'll soon be heading back to Lakeland herself, much to her family's relief.
"Our baby's coming home," her grandmother sobbed after hearing the news.
"I just want to go get my daughter," Luther Lewis added after thanking deputies. "I'll probably never let her go."