British mother Jessica Richards has been found in Spain with her four year-old daughter Elliana Shand.
She had disappeared with Elliana the previous summer. The little girl had been the subject of care proceedings by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham due to her mother’s schizophrenia.
Following their disappearance, Mr Justice Hayden announced that details of the case could be made public and appealed for information on the whereabouts of the mentally ill mother. Photos were released to the media. In December, he announced:
“I am very concerned indeed about Elliana and her mother. It is imperative that they are found so that we can be sure they are safe.”
But at a new High Court hearing, the Judge revealed that Spanish police had finally found the fugitive parent on Thursday last week. She and her daughter would be brought back to the UK within days he said.
He praised the efforts of Elliana’s paternal grandparents, Sean and Eileen Doyle, who had been actively involved in the search for the youngster. Following the hearing Eileen said she and Sean were “over the moon” at their granddaughter’s imminent return.
Just a few weeks ago, Sean had been pleading desperately for new information:
“Please think if you have seen them. We know Jessica loves Elliana to bits. But Jessica is schizophrenic and Elliana is very small. They must be somewhere. Someone must have seen them. They both need help.”