NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A man was taken into custody in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday after he allegedly kidnapped a 4-year-old girl in Florida on Saturday.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said West Wild Hogs, 31, was found with Rebecca Lewis, 4, outside the Baptist East Hospital around 2 p.m. Monday.
Rebecca was found safe after an employee recognized them and contacted hospital security, authorities said. She was taken back into the hospital for an evaluation.
Hogs, who legally changed his name from Matthew Clark Pybus, was taken into custody in the parking lot as he returned to his vehicle. It’s unclear what charges he may face at this time.
The AMBER Alert was launched over the weekend after Rebecca’s family reported her missing from the Lazy Day Retreat RV camp on Highway 98 in Florida. She was last seen at 9 a.m. that day when her 16-year-old sister saw her sleeping in bed.
The sister fell back asleep and woke up around 9:45 a.m. At that time, Rebecca was gone.
Authorities say Hogs is a long-time family friend who hadn’t seen them in two years when he was asked to leave their home for pulling a gun on a family member.
Then on Friday, Hogs allegedly showed at Rebecca’s grandmother’s house on Friday in Polk City, Florida. Rebecca was taken less than 24 hours later.
The AMBER Alert was expanded through most of the southeast, including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky.
According to authorities, West Hogs and Rebecca were seen again later that day at a gas station in Forsythe, Georgia, just off of Interstate 75, around 6:30 p.m. Surveillance images showed the two together and Rebecca appeared to be in good health.
The two were then believed to be spotted in the area of Cove Lake State Park, in Campbell County, Tennessee, which is near Interstate 75 close to Tennessee/Kentucky border.
At that time, the TBI expanded Florida’s AMBER Alert to East Tennessee.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida says sometime on Sunday between 9 and 10 p.m. Central, a park ranger reported seeing a man and child matching Hogs and Rebecca’s description at the park. It’s unclear if that sighting was confirmed.
Several hours later, they were spotted in Nashville overnight at a Daily’s convenience store at 2:30 a.m. off Antioch Pike and Interstate 24. Officials say they used a bank card connected to Hogs and surveillance video to verify the sighting.
That was the last official sighting before Hogs was taken into custody Monday afternoon in Memphis.
The investigation is ongoing and a motive for the kidnapping was not immediately known. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd of Florida previously said Hogs suffers from depression and bipolar disorder.
The AMBER Alert in Tennessee
The TBI was asked by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Sunday to issue an alert for the entire state of Tennessee as opposed to just East Tennessee.
Since the TBI felt there was no specific information the child was in Tennessee at the time, they did not able to issue an alert right way. However, the bureau did issue a Be-On-The-Lookout notice for law enforcement.
Only after the two were spotted in Nashville on Monday and that sighting was confirmed did the TBI expand the AMBER Alert to all of Tennessee.
We are confident we have done everything possible – within the bounds of our established policies and practices – to assist authorities in Florida, given the information available to us throughout this event. We remain in constant contact with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and stand prepared to assist in any way as this ongoing search effort continues,” said the TBI in a statement Monday.