FBI says child recovered from care of religious group, given to custodian
By EMERY P. DALESIO
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - An 11-year-old girl placed in the care of a religious group by her father was found in North Carolina and delivered to an aunt who has legal custody, the FBI said Tuesday.
The girl's father, Edward Love, 45, of Baltimore, Md., has been held by authorities in the town of San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico, since June 28. That's when a permit to distribute religious literature expired, said Claire Borowick, a spokeswoman for the religious group called The Family.
Love is a missionary for The Family and had been working in Mexico for several months, Borowick said.
"He was concerned about her visa expiring," Borowick said in a telephone interview from Mexico City.
The Family was born in 1968 to evangelize the hippies of southern California, according to the group's Web site.
Borowick said she flew with Love's daughter, Veronica, to North Carolina after her father's arrest and left her with a Roanoke Rapids family.
"It was his wish and her wish that she could wait for him there," Borowick said. "It was a temporary situation and she wasn't being hidden."
The girl's aunt won legal custody in a Tennessee family court and the girl was reported as a missing child in a national registry on Saturday, said Michael Saylor, an FBI spokesman in Raleigh.
The FBI said in a prepared statement that the girl, whom they did not identify, had been moved "to Washington, D.C., to discourage having her turned over to the aunt."
The girl was living in Roanoke Rapids with the Laurence Tair family, Borowick said. There was no telephone number listed under that name. The North Carolina family and the Loves had been missionaries together in the United States, Borowick said.
Agents went to the Roanoke Rapids home on Sunday, took the girl into custody and turned her over to her aunt in Memphis, Tenn., Saylor said.
The Roanoke Rapids home housed several other children and investigators with the Halifax County child protective services were called to check their welfare, Saylor said. The county agency did not return calls seeking comment.
The Family describes itself as an international Christian fellowship that seeks to help and minister to the needy and downtrodden. Its estimated 12,000 members follow the pattern of the earliest Christians by living in cooperative communities where they share possessions and responsibilities, an organization Internet site said.
On the Web:
The Family site: http://www.thefamily.org/index.php3
FBI site: http://www.fbi.gov