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THE NATION

Mother Pleads for Missing Toddler

December 27, 2001|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — A mother pleaded for the return Wednesday of a 16-month-old girl allegedly taken from a bus station on Christmas Eve by a woman with a tattoo on her neck.

"All I can think about is her and her little face and not knowing where she's at or who she's with," Marcella Anderson, 21, said of her daughter, Jasmine, at a news conference Wednesday.

Pleading with the abductor, she added: "I just really wish you would have a heart and a mind to bring her home where she belongs, with her mother, her sister and her father."

At least 100 detectives have been working to find the girl, Chicago police Det. Allen Jaglowski said. Police and the FBI had received numerous tips but none provided solid information, police Officer Alice Casanova said.

Anderson said she and her two daughters--Jasmine and 3-year-old Alicia--were at the Greyhound station waiting for a bus home to Milwaukee after flying in from St. Louis, where she had visited a sister.

Anderson said it was her first time traveling alone with her children and that all three were tired.

"I needed help," Anderson said.

She said a woman with a tattoo of a name or a word on the left side of her neck came up and offered to give them a ride to Milwaukee. Anderson said the woman, who said her name was Christine or Christina, offered to hold Jasmine while Anderson cashed in her bus tickets.

"I probably should have said no," Anderson said.

Anderson said that when she was waiting in line at the ticket counter she turned around and saw the woman walking away.

A man who earlier had helped Anderson with her luggage tried to chase them, but "in a split second, they were gone," Officer Thomas Donegan said.

The children's father had been waiting for them in Milwaukee.

Jasmine has a medium complexion, curly dark brown hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a pink hooded coat, light blue sweat pants and white gym shoes.

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