A 1-year-old was reunited with her Florida family after the vehicle she had been sleeping in was stolen.
The infant, Tinnley Sage West, was discovered unharmed inside her parents’ vehicle in Brandon, Florida last Tuesday, according to a news release from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO).
Just before 3 p.m. local time on Feb. 16, the little girl was sleeping in the family’s SUV when it was stolen.
Chelsea Noriega, the baby’s mother, was helping carry items into a home when an unnamed suspect entered and took off in the vehicle.
After a land and air search of two hours, the child was located “approximately three miles” from her home at a church parking lot in the Florida town. Tinnley was thankfully, “unharmed and returned to her parents.”
An individual, who is believed to be the suspect who stole the car and has yet to be caught, was previously seen on video recorded from a neighbor’s camera.
Tinnley can be seen being recovered by Master Corporal John Seale in body camera footage, who was later on awarded the “Chief’s Challenge Coin” for his actions, according to a social media statement from the HCSO.
“We are so thankful for Master Corporal Seale and the countless deputies who worked tirelessly to locate Baby Tinnley West and reunite her with her family,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “It was a privilege to personally thank him today for his diligence and job well done.”
“This is the best possible outcome we could have asked for, and it brought us a tremendous amount of joy and relief being able to return Tinnley West safely to her family,” Chronister added in a separate news release. “While I am thankful that the suspect did the right thing, he will still face the consequences for his actions.”
“We want to locate this individual immediately, and we’re asking the public to help us bring him to justice,” Chronister continued.
In a statement shared on Facebook, Tinnley’s mother wrote, “i just wanna say thank you to everyone who looked for tinnley. thanks to everyone who reached out + sent lots of love. we’re so grateful that tinnley is home safe. a special thank you to hillsborough county sheriffs office, for their quick and diligent work. lesson learned, forsure.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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