Girl abducted in San Jose found safe in Stockton; reunited with mom

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A terrifying few hours is finally over for a South Bay mother whose little girl was the subject of an Amber Alert. The two were reunited this morning. The 6-year-old was taken from her home in San Jose. She was found 75 miles away in Stockton.

The mom is in Stockton picking up the young girl and bringing her back to San Jose. The kidnapping suspects are headed to Santa Clara County Jail.

The ending to this morning's AMBER Alert was satisfying:

"We here at the Stockton Police Department are very grateful and fortunate to reunite Ava with her family since we did locate her here in Stockton," said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones.

Six-year old Ava Bar-Illan was found by Stockton police just before 6 a.m. She was even wearing her Minnie Mouse t-shirt used in the AMBER Alert description.

"I'm just very happy that Ava is okay and I do want to thank everyone that was involved in getting her back safely," said Renbourne Bar-Illan, Ava's mom.

The search for Ava started at 2:20 a.m. Renbourne reported her ex-boyfriend, 39-year-old Milpitas resident Maurice Cheadle, took Eva from her home on Cleveland Avenue in San Jose and drove off with his current girlfriend, 35-year-old Stockton resident Dawn Atkisson. But this simple story is a little more complicated.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department says Cheadle has known Ava since she was a one-year-old and still takes care of her from time to time. He went to drop her off at her mom's house at 2:20 Wednesday morning.

"He brought her into the house. Her mother received a phone call from her new boyfriend -- which upset the suspect. The suspect told 6-year-old Eva to go out to the car. She went out to the car. The male then struck our female, her mother -- which is domestic violence," said Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. James Jensen.

Deputies say Cheadle then left and he and Atkisson drove Ava to a Stockton home. During that time, an AMBER Alert went out. Ava was now the alleged victim of a kidnapping. Cheadle, Atkisson and their car were now in the spotlight being looked for by law enforcement and citizens.

Stockton police found them at a house on Tree Swallow Court. Atkisson was arrested outside and Cheadle was inside with Ava and surrendered peacefully. Sheriff's investigators say the suspects had no intention of hurting Ava. The young girl is now headed home.

"I was very happy to see her; she looked like she was having fun here so that was good to see. She seems good," said Renbourne .

Sheriff's deputies say Atkisson and Cheadle will be booked on kidnapping and conspiracy charges while Cheadle will also face a domestic violence charge.
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