THE gran of an eight-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted said the child’s safe return was the best Christmas present ever.
The youngster was found safe and well yesterday after being missing for around 18 hours.
Cops arrested a man and woman this morning after a hunt to find the missing child[/caption]
The pair were taken away in a police car after she was found safe[/caption]
She was believed to have left home in Bedminster, Bristol, with a neighbour and a man at about 3pm on Wednesday.
The girl was expected to be back within the hour, her mother had reported, and her disappearance sparked an overnight hunt by police.
Yesterday the child was spotted in Bristol’s Broadmead Shopping Centre and collected by officers in The Galleries centre nearby. Two people were arrested.
The girl’s gran said: “It’s the best Christmas present I could have wished for.
“I’ve barely slept since I heard that she had gone missing. You can only imagine the relief when I was told that she had been found.
“The whole family are just so happy to have her back.”
After issuing an abduction appeal yesterday, police were seen taking a man and sobbing woman into custody in Bristol.
A member of the public called officers after they spotted the man and woman, along with the girl, inside Bristol’s Broadmead Shopping Centre just after 9am yesterday morning.
The couple appeared to be “arguing”, and the schoolgirl seemed unhurt and well, sources said.
It took police just minutes to arrive, and the pair were collared by cops in the nearby Galleries shopping centre, it was said.
A man, who witnessed the pair being taken into custody, said: “Someone who saw them said they looked like they were arguing, and the little girl was with them.
“They said that she seemed fine [the girl] when she was with them, but when they got apprehended she seemed quite upset. She was taken away safely by police.
“The man was walked down Union Street, and the woman was put in the back of a police car.
“She was talking to the police. They were both quite vocal with the police. I don’t know what they were saying though. The best news is that the little girl is safe.”
Officers were seen talking to the pair – carrying a plastic bag containing what appeared to be children’s toys – before putting them in a patrol car.
They were picked up at The Galleries shopping centre in Bristol city centre at around 9am.
One cop was seen carrying a bag with a pink umbrella sticking out of it at the scene of the arrest.
Earlier cops had released CCTV images showing the youngster and the two adults eating McDonald’s.
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An Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman last night said: “A man and a woman are currently in custody on suspicion of child abduction.”
Officers carrying a plastic bag as they made the arrest earlier this morning[/caption]