PERRY -- Chris McClure and girlfriend Brandy Boies were driving back to Florida from Tennessee on Sunday when they saw a billboard near Atlanta announcing an Amber Alert for a 6-year-old girl abducted from Florida.
They’d already gotten four Amber Alert text messages about the girl. McClure said they never thought they’d actually see the 2000 dark green Buick Century with yellow Ohio tags described in the alert.
But they did.
Authorities say it was McClure’s call to 911 that resulted in the recovery of the girl unharmed during a traffic stop on Interstate 75 in Perry.
McClure of Summerfield, Fla., said he doesn’t feel like a hero, even though people keep telling him that he’s one.
“I just felt like it was the right thing to do,” McClure said.
He followed the car they first saw on I-75 near the I-475 connection to check the license plate to see if it matched the Amber Alert and called 911 once they confirmed the match.
He said making the identification was a bit tricky because he drives a former police vehicle, a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria, and the driver of the Buick Century didn’t appear to want to let him see the tag. She may have thought he was an officer in an unmarked car, and she slowed down to 45 mph on the interstate to prevent him from getting behind her, McClure said. He pulled off the road and then caught back up with her and confirmed the tag. He said Perry police swarmed the Buick Century within minutes of his 911 call.
The girl, Onnika Fisher, was the subject of the Amber Alert after her mother allegedly took her Friday from the Jewish Family & Community Services Center in Jacksonville, according to a news release from the Jacksonville Police Department.
Her mother, 39-year-old Charity Chatman of Atlantic Beach, Del., was arrested on an outstanding warrant for interference with child custody, the release stated. She was being held Monday at the Houston County jail pending extradition to Florida.
Authorities issued the alert for the Buick Century after Chatman allegedly grabbed the child at the end of a supervised visit.
The girl was returned to Florida authorities, said Houston County sheriff’s Capt. Randall Banks, head of juvenile investigations.
“They came straight up here and picked her up,” Banks said. “I’m sure she’s back where she’s supposed to be right now.”
Perry police Capt. Bill Phelps said McClure’s call to 911 came in at 11:12 p.m.
Perry police officer Tony Larrauri spotted the southbound Buick Century at the 134 mile marker at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter exit and pulled Chatman over without incident and with the aid of Perry officers Jimmy Jones and Nash Chapman.
Chatman was stopped within three minutes of Perry police being dispatched. Police implemented a felony traffic stop, which uses backup officers to ensure a suspect does not come out of the vehicle with a weapon and that the car is blocked in, Phelps said.
“It was just a textbook stop, and it couldn’t have went any better,” Phelps said. “The officers did an outstanding job.”
He also noted that McClure was able to stay behind Chatman’s vehicle. McClure said he could see Perry police coming down an exit ramp with lights flashing and sirens wailing.
“The Amber Alert really worked,” Phelps said. “Without it, that person (Chatman) would have made it to whatever location she was going.”
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.