A 4-year-old Charlotte girl who was abducted Friday night at gunpoint was found safe Saturday, police said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested the girl’s mother, 22-year-old Kandice Dynae Brown, and the mother’s boyfriend, 26-year-old Derrick Theron Richardson Jr. The Charlotte residents each face robbery and kidnapping charges.
The child, Tianna Richardson, was expected to be reunited with her father soon.
Her father, Bradwick Richardson, said he’s worried his daughter will be traumatized by the incident.
“For her to be 4 and see this…it’s rough, especially on daddy,” said Bradwick Richardson, who is not related to suspect Derrick Richardson.
The kidnapping happened around 10:30 p.m. Friday at her father’s home on Derrydowne Drive in the Hidden Valley neighborhood in northeast Charlotte.
Bradwick Richardson told the Observer that a friend had been visiting him and his girlfriend Friday night. As the friend left, she shouted to him that someone was outside the house.
Police said that’s when three people approached: Brown, Derrick Richardson and an unknown man.
Bradwick Richardson said he ran upstairs to get a baseball bat. When he got outside, he said, he saw Derrick Richardson grabbing his friend’s hair and pointing a gun at her.
Bradwick Richardson said he tussled with the suspects as they forced their way inside.
Meanwhile, he said, Tianna was downstairs watching television. Bradwick Richardson’s girlfriend, Sarah Pegues, ran to pick up the child.
Derrick Richardson followed, pointing a gun at Pegues as she held the girl, Bradwick Richardson said. He said he heard the gunman say, “Put her down. She’s coming with us.”
Tianna’s father said he rushed downstairs with the baseball bat. He said Derrick Richardson tried to get the bat away from him, striking him on the arms with the gun. Police said Brown forcefully removed the girl while the victims were being held at gunpoint.
“Tianna was screaming at the top of her lungs,” Bradwick Richardson said. “She’s never been through anything like this.”
Then, Derrick Richardson told the victims to empty their pockets, they said. He took cash and cell phones.
After the kidnapping, officers canvassed local hotels but didn’t find Tianna or her abductors, police said. Early Saturday, an Amber Alert was issued for her.
The alert was cancelled around 10 a.m. Saturday after police arrested Brown and Derrick Richardson. Detectives told Tianna’s father they’d been found at a mosque on Sugar Creek Road.
“What they were trying to accomplish, I’ll never know,” Bradwick Richardson said.
Relations between Bradwick Richardson and Brown have been strained recently.
There are no custody arrangements between the former couple, police said, and Brown had not had contact with her daughter since June.
Bradwick Richardson said Brown and Derrick Richardson came to his front door last Monday around 5:30 a.m., saying they were there to pick up Tianna. He said he told them the girl was going to school soon but to come back later so that they could talk. He said that’s when the couple tried to push the door open. Police were called, but no report was taken, he said.
The next day, Brown filed a domestic violence protective order against her ex, saying he’d harassed and stalked her.
She wrote in her request for the order that her child “is not allowed to see me or talk to me” and that Tianna had been beaten for not calling her father’s girlfriend “mommy.”
The girl’s father said none of that is true.
On Saturday afternoon, Tianna had not yet been returned to her father’s home. Police told her father that she was with Brown’s mother.
Officials with the Department of Social Services were expected to visit Bradwick Richardson’s home.
“It’s killing me,” he said. “I can’t sleep or eat till I see her.”
Police said Brown and Derrick Richardson each face charges of armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy and burglary, police said. Brown was also charged with child abuse. She was being held in Mecklenburg jail Saturday under a $135,000 bond while her boyfriend was being held under a $132,500 bond.
A search of court records shows neither has a criminal record in North Carolina.
Tianna’s father said he plans to file for full custody, but he wants Brown to be involved in their daughter’s life.
“Tianna needs her mother,” he said. “I hope she can hold up to what that’s supposed to be.”
Staff researcher Marion Paynter contributed.