Police: Missing girl investigation delayed by lack of informatio - 8 News NOW

Police: Missing girl investigation delayed by lack of information

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Shelly Mitchell Shelly Mitchell

LAS VEGAS -- This weekend, police tracked down a missing 3-year-old girl.

The girl’s mother, who does not have custody, snatched Katies Battle from a party at the child’s father’s house.

Tips from the community played a part in finding Katies and her mother, Shelly Mitchell.

Mitchell now faces a felony charge, while the child is back with Child Protective Services.

Katies was reported missing July 5, which was a Saturday. North Las Vegas Police say they could not confirm with Child Protective Services that Mitchell did not have custodial rights until Monday.

So, they could not do anything until then.

Evine Battle told 8 News NOW about the moment he found out his daughter Katies was snatched from a family party by Shelly Mitchell.

“Before I could even make it outside, my nephew told me, ‘she had took the baby.’ Cause he knows my baby mom, and he knows she has not supposed to be around my baby,” Evine Battle said.

Neither parent has custody of the 3 year old, but police say she was on an approved visit at Battle's North Las Vegas home.

Police tracked Mitchell down with her daughter early Sunday morning. Exclusive video from an 8 News NOW viewer shows Mitchell's arrest at the Budget Suites near Flamingo Road and Boulder Highway.

Police say little Katies was safe and healthy.

“She was in her mother's care and it is very difficult for us to separate a daughter from her mother, you know. It is really the most natural place for her to be. However, in this case, there were reasons that a judge had court ordered this child into protective custody,” North Las Vegas Police Sgt. Chrissie Coon said.

Sergeant Chrissie Coon says that information wasn't readily available for police though.

Katies was reported missing on July 5, which was a Saturday, and police could not get confirmation Mitchell had no custodial rights until the following Monday.

“Before we know that, we need to go hunt this child down who is with her biological mom, we need to know that that biological mom has no custodial right to the child,” Sgt. Coon said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Family Services in Clark County says representatives were in contact with police on July 5, 6 and 7. The department operates 24/7, and she cannot comment on specific cases, but Coon says the investigation was slowed down because of a lack of information.

“It's definitely helpful in a situation like this if we have access to that type of information right off the bat. We're very fortunate that this situation went the way that it did. In a situation that is not the case, we should have access to that information in a timely manner,” Coon said.

Now, police say little Katies is back with Child Protective Services. Her father and her maternal grandmother tell 8 News NOW they are both trying to get custody of the child.

Mitchell's mother talked to 8 News NOW by phone from South Dakota.

“She is a loving person but she was just scared. She thought her daughter was being abused, and she wanted to make sure that she did something about it. This is the way she went about it. She went about it wrong but she was scared and wanted to be heard,” Mitchell’s mother Phoebe Burgher said.

Police say a previous allegation of abuse in foster care was investigated and unfounded.

If Mitchell would have made a report and brought the child to police in the first place, she probably would not have been arrested.

Shelly Mitchell is scheduled to be in court Tuesday.

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