Abducted 4-Year-Old Girl Rebecca Lewis Rescued Thanks To Heroic Tennessee Hospital Assistant
The five-state search for abducted 4-year-old Rebecca Lewis came to an end after a hospital assistant in Tennessee helped rescue the child. Kaytlin Brown, a clinical assistant at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, saw Lewis and her alleged kidnapper, West Hogs, while she was walking down a hallway at the hospital on Oct. 10.
Lewis went missing from her bed in her Lakeland, Florida home on Saturday, Oct. 8, People reported from a news release from the Polk County, Florida, Sheriff's Office. Brown, 23, told People that she saw Lewis' photo in an AMBER Alert poster via Facebook moments before seeing the child with Hogs.
Brown walked by the two one more time before informing her father Carey McIllwain, a board runner at the hospital, of what she had seen. Brown and McIllwain approached Lewis and Hogs together. Brown recalled that Hogs was holding the toddler's hand while keeping his head down to hide his face.
Afterward, Brown and McIllwain informed security and contacted Memphis police. Authorities arrested Hogs without incident just as he and Lewis were exiting the hospital's parking lot, according to CNN. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee had all issued Amber Alerts about Lewis' abduction.
Brown said that Lewis "didn't seem too fazed" about the whole thing. "I don't know if she really knew what was going on. That makes me even happier that she was so unfazed, because it's such a terrible memory to [live with]," Brown further told People.
Luther Lewis and Melissa Schell, Rebecca's parents, told police that they hadn't seen Hogs in the past two years before he surprisingly visited their home on Oct. 7, NBC reported. Luther and Schell told reporters at a news conference that they grew up with Hogs and that they considered him as part of their family.
The two, however, claimed that Hogs' nature changed after he went through brain surgery a number of years ago. Hogs' family told authorities that he has depression and bipolar disorder, according to Donna Wood, spokeswoman for the Polk County, Florida, Sheriff's Office.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said that Hogs has no criminal history and does not appear to be violent. He also lived with the Lewis family in the past - a time when the young Rebecca was just an infant - but he took out a gun on the family "so the mama ran him off," CNN added.
Lewis was sent back to Florida and reunited with her parents on Oct. 11. Hogs was extradited from Tennessee to South County, Florida on Oct. 13, with burglary and kidnapping as his charges. He has a $100,000 bond.