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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A two-year-old girl is back with her mom after police say she was abducted by her father, who does not have legal custody.
Joshua Yeager was arrested after state police issued an Amber Alert last night.
But the drama actually began four days earlier. It took some time before state police and even the girl's mother realized Jaylynn Maxey could be in danger.
State Police arrested Joshua Yeager, with two-year-old Jaylynn, shortly after midnight, following an hour long chase down I-65 south.
The pursuit began in Louisville and ended 60 miles away in Upton, Ky in Hardin County.
But the drama began on Friday in the parking lot of a Walmart in Fern Creek. Police say that is where Yeager assaulted his girlfriend, and Jaylynn's mother, Melissa Maxey, and her 8-month-son, and then fled with Jaylynn.
But police say Maxey originally did not believe two-year-old Jaylynn was in danger. "The two-year-old basically walks on water to this guy; never harmed the two-year-old. There's never been anything but love towards the two-year-old," said Sgt. Donny Burbrink of the Louisville Metro Police Missing Persons division.
But Yeager raised alarms the next day when police say he sent ominous text messages to his girlfriend. "Things to the nature of, you'll never see the child again; what kind of picture did you give police; and it's finished," said Burbrink.
Kentucky State Police initially declined LMPD's request for an Amber Alert, believing the case was simply a custody dispute.
But the stakes were raised on Monday, when Shepherdsville Police released surveillance video of a bank robbery and named Yeager a person of interest.
"We came upon new information that Mr. Yeager was armed and possibly suicidal. Based on the new information we had received, we contacted KSP and again requested an Amber Alert, and this time it was granted," said Burbrink.
Police say the Amber Alert resulted in a flood of tips which led to the recovery of a car Yeager had stolen and, finally, his arrest.
Yeager has a long criminal record, including numerous drug and theft charges. But police say they do not know what prompted the abduction. "Just one of those spur-of-the-moment, freaked out type things, and it just happened," said Burbrink.
LMPD says, by design, the threshold for issuing Amber Alerts is very high to avoid false alarms.
But once again, it proved to be an effective tool. Right now, Yeager is in the Hardin Co. Jail.