PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Police in Pawtucket announced Wednesday that a library employee helped solve a child abduction case. The victim has been rescued and the child’s mother has been arrested.
“Deep down inside I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t place it at that point. But I kept thinking of this little girl all the time, so I knew something was wrong,” the library staffer told NBC 10 News. “I never thought I would find a missing child. It just doesn’t come up every day you know and I’m just so glad for her that she’s safe now and she’s going to have a safe life and she’s not going to be on the run anymore with her mom,” the employee added.
The following is a summary of events provided by Pawtucket police: On November 5, 2021, the Pawtucket Police Department was alerted to a possible missing child by staff at the Pawtucket Public Library. Staff became concerned on a couple of occasions about a mother and daughter. An internet search revealed a Facebook post from 2019 for both mother and daughter possibly being missing out of Florida.
The investigation was turned over to Det. Ethan Barrett who was able to verify that the child was actually missing out of the state of Virginia. Det. Barrett was also able to verify that the mother had a warrant out of Florida for interfering with custody/abduction by a non-custodial parent. The investigation led Det. Barrett and members of the Major Crime Unit to Fogarty Manor in Pawtucket where the child was eventually located and mother subsequently arrested.
Jessica Van Daam, age 48, from Stuart, Florida, was held as a fugitive from justice and remanded to the ACI awaiting extradition. Family Services of Rhode Island was contacted and remained with the seven year old girl until the arrival of DCYF who then took custody and responded with the child to an area hospital for a precautionary evaluation.