The cry for help barely escaped Keisha Gaither’s throat as she begged for her daughter’s safe return.
“Please give me back my child. Please give me my baby,” she hoarsely uttered, as tears ran down her face, before a crush of local and national reporters on Tuesday.
Her baby is Carlesha Freeland-Gaither.
The 22-year-old woman was abducted by an unidentified man while walking home from a visit to her godson’s house in Germantown Sunday night. No one has heard from her since she screamed for help while being pushed into a dark gray metallic Ford Taurus that night.
“She’s a young female. She doesn’t have to go through this,” her father, Carl Freeland, said. They’re the same comments he’s been trying to get out to the kidnapper for two days.
“Whatever you’re asking for, just get in contact with me and my family. Again, not pressing no charges or nothing like that. All we want back is our daughter,” he said.
Carlesha is a loving person who is always there for others, according to her family.
"Carlesha was really a sweethart, and if you all look at that picture, you all can tell that she loved she loved animals," her sister, Brettany Gaither, said referencing the photo family members have used to tell people about her dissapearance. "She's just a free person."
She spent most of her life, from 4 years old until she was 19, living with her grandmother, Ana Mulero, in California, Maryland, which is in the southern part of the state. The woman attended grade and high school there and moved back to Philadelphia two years ago to start a career, the family said.
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Once here, she lived with her grandfather. Carlesha moved out two months ago and has been working as a nurses’ aide in Penn Presbyterian Hospital’s cancer center.
“Not only did she enjoy what she was doing, the people there loved her,” said the woman’s grandmother, Ana Mulero.
Philadelphia Police are looking into a few leads in the case, but have yet to find a link to her whereabouts. They are investigating a man’s use of Carlesha’s ATM card at a bank in Aberdeen, Maryland at 6 a.m. Monday, some 10 hours after the abduction. Investigators released a series of photos of the man inside the bank and are calling him a person of interest.
Officials also asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect’s car seen in widely distributed surveillance video.
As the search draws into its third day Tuesday night, Carlesha's family is not worried if the young woman will be returned. They believe it will be a matter of when.
“She’s a very strong person and I have a lot of faith in her and a lot of faith in God so I know she’s going to make it through,” Mulero said.
“‘I love you,’” her mother, Keisha Gaither said, speaking to her missing daughter. “All you got to do is just get out. Just come home.”