UPDATE – Missing Wolf Point Child Found Safe – Story Received Nationwide Attention
The tiny reservation community of Wolf Point, Montana, was the focus of hundreds of thousands of prayers and social media messages nationwide over the weekend, following the abduction and subsequent Amber Alert for four year-old Maci Lilley.
Public Information Officer for the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office, Lee Allmer spoke with KGVO News early on Sunday afternoon, February 28, and said little Maci had been found safe.
"Her abduction occurred late Friday night in a park in west-end housing in Wolf Point," Allmer said. "Witnesses said they saw her being taken away by the suspect into the housing area. Yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, the suspect was apprehended and taken into custody, and the charges against him are still in flux."
The suspect, identified as John Lieba, was not a relative of the child. Allmer said even though Lieba had been arrested, the child herself was still missing until mid-morning on Sunday.
"Officially, as of 11:20 this morning,, Maci Lilley was found alive and well," he said. "At the moment the crime scene is still active, so we cannot reveal where she was found, but officers said she was in good health. The Undersheriff did an initial assessment, and then took her to the health services office here in Wolf Point."
Wolf Point is located in the northeast corner of Montana in Roosevelt County on the Fort Peck Reservation, about 60 miles from Canada and 90 miles from Williston, North Dakota.
Allmer said the sheriff's office was overwhelmed by the reaction to the child's abduction through the few posts he placed on social media. There was even a story published on the CNN website.
"The amazing thing is the reaction to the Facebook posts we put up," he said. "Being a small town of maybe 3,000 people, and a county of only about 11,000, seeing tens of thousands of hits on our social media sites, that thousands of people were praying and sending well wishes to both the family and the sheriff's office, was tremendous," he said. "The support nationwide is greatly appreciated. We want people to know that Wolf Point is a pretty tight community and we really did come together."
Allmer said Maci would be reunited with her family later Sunday afternoon.
"It was a happy ending," he added. "It was the best possible outcome."