Questions linger after missing Jackson, OH girl found alive - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Questions linger after missing Jackson, OH girl found alive

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Seconds after Frank Stewart vocalized his fear that his daughter was dead, the mayor rushed into the lobby of the Jackson Police Department.

"We have found her safe and alive," said Randy Heath, the mayor of Jackson, Ohio. "This is the true definition of breaking news."

Relief washed over a community that spent more than 13 hours searching for a little girl.

"Her real name is Macey Anna Elaine Stewart," said the girl's father, Frank Stewart. "We call her Macey Jane."

Stewart reported Macey missing at approximately 1:30 a.m. Friday, according to Jackson Police. She was last seen on the porch of her home at 207 N. Chestnut St.

Emergency responders spent the day searching the roads and waterways for any clues leading to Macey.

The girl was located just before 4 p.m. Friday at a home in Liberty Township, according to Health.

Jackson County deputies told 13NEWS a woman had heard someone crying that afternoon; moments later, she discovered a girl in her backyard, naked and hurt. Investigators confirmed that girl was missing Macey Stewart.

"How she got out there, who she might have been with, those are all questions they're going to try to ask her," Heath said. "That girl did not get out there on her own."

Deputies would not describe the extent of Macey's injuries, but they did say she was transported to a nearby hospital.

Questions linger about how a young girl appeared six miles away from her home.

"Somebody took that child," Stewart said. "Somebody knows who took that child."

Her father claimed a teenager was watching Macey at their Jackson home early Friday morning while he and his sons tried to fix a car tire.

Stewart said he knew the teenager well and trusted him. He told 13NEWS on Friday that an acquaintance approached the teenager, asking about electronics. The boy went inside to check for the electronics and when he returned, both the man and Macey had vanished.

Jackson Police questioned Stewart and several other people Friday.

Stewart said he's not sure who took his child.

"I don't understand why anybody would take my child," Stewart said. "I've done nothing to nobody."

Authorities never issued an Amber Alert for Macey. Officers with the Jackson Police Department said they failed to gather enough evidence to prove someone abducted the girl.

 

A spokesperson for the Jackson County Health Department said the office is familiar with the Stewart family, citing several property maintenance issues.

Brenda Stewart, Macey's mother, is currently in jail on unrelated charges.

13NEWS discovered that Brenda Stewart faced several child endangerment charges in 2004, 2007, and 2008, according to court documents.

No arrests have been made at this time. The investigation continues.

The Jackson Police Department, Jackson Fire Department, Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Coalton Fire Department, Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, Ohio Search and Research Team units from Mansfield, Delaware and Gallipolis, the water rescue team of the Wellston Fire Department, and BCII assisted in the search for Macey.