Local News

Authorities Find Missing Cumberland Girl In Illinois

Posted July 5, 2005

— A 10-year-old girl is returning to her Cumberland County home after relatives allegedly kidnapped her.

Cumberland County deputies said 10-year-old Mecca Banks was found in Rockford, Ill., with her mother.

Mary Craddock, the child's great aunt and legal guardian, said that Mecca's grandmother, Deborah McKenzie, had asked if she could take Mecca on a picnic. Cradock said she agreed, but the next day when McKenzie was supposed to return the child, she did not.

Deputies said McKenzie gave the girl to her daughter, Shaymon Thomas, Mecca's biological mother. Officers believe Thomas then took Mecca from Hope Mills to Thomas' home in Illinois.

McKenzie is now in a Cumberland County jail. Thomas is also in jail in Illinois, where she faces charges of felonious restraint, abduction of a child and felonious conspiracy. Deputies plan to bring her back to Cumberland County.

Craddock said she is relieved that her great niece is safe.

"It's really strange because you're still hurt, but you're so happy," Craddock said.

Craddock said she taught Mecca to call her phone number, but she never told her how to dial long distance so Mecca could not get through. Now, Craddock plans to go to Illinois to pick up the child and refuses to let something like this to happen again.

"You don't want to give up on family, but, I think this is one God will allow me to give up on," Craddock said.

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