DeKalb police said that a caregiver left the child, Miraya Robinson, sleeping inside a van as she ran an errand at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. After about 5 to 7 minutes, she returned to find the van and Robinson gone.
The young girl was later found inside a dark gray 2010 Dodge Caravan at Lithonia High School after more than three hours of searching.
The girl's mother, Charity Gibson, says she will no longer take life for granted and is extremely grateful to have her precious daughter back home.
"I felt helpless for her. I felt helpless for me because there was nothing that I could have done but pray," said Gibson.
Gibson says her mind raced with thoughts of what could have happened during her daughter's abduction.
"You pray, but then on the flip side you're like, ‘Oh my God, she could be dead. She could be molested or at the very least, just crying for me,'" said Gibson.
The mother of three said that the incident brought back bad memories.
"My first daughter is the one I lost. Her name was Asia. She died of a liver disease. So, I've already had the tragedy of losing a child," said Gibson. "It went back and I'm just like, I can't lose another one."
Sadness turned to joy when Gibson learned that Melba Williams had found Miraya abandoned in the van in the Lithonia High School parking lot.
"It was just like, ‘Oh, my God, my heart can beat again, I can breathe again,' It was amazing," she said.
Investigators have charged the caregiver, 44-year-old Rhonda Rivers, with 2nd degree cruelty to children.
Charity said that Rivers is like a member of her extended family.
"I hate it because I do love Ms. Rhonda dearly, but when you do things like this -- this is the consequence," said Gibson.
Gibson said that she kept her other two daughters out of school on Wednesday so that the family could bond and heal after Tuesday's ordeal.
A tearful Rivers appeared in court on Wednesday. Her bond has been set at $20,000. Her next court date is November 1.
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