Aspen Jeter — the 5-year-old South Carolina girl who went missing after her mom was discovered dead on Thanksgiving — was found safe in Virginia, police announced Friday.
The youngster was found in a parking lot with her father, Antar Jeter, who was taken into custody and charged with her mother’s murder, Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
Aspen was reported missing two weeks ago, but may have disappeared much earlier.
The girl’s family called authorities on Nov. 24 to conduct a welfare check on their Orangeburg home after not hearing from her mother, 46-year-old Crystal Jumper, since Nov. 1, Jumper’s brother told WIS.
Police found the Jumper’s body in an “advanced stage of decomposition” with a gunshot wound. The 5-year-old girl was not in the home.
The family said Antar was also missing from the home. He was living in the house temporarily while an electrical issue in his residence was being fixed, Jumper’s cousin said, adding that Antar and Jumper did not get along.
Officials did not specify whether they considered Antar a suspect.
Police were able to track him down after he was spotted making financial transactions in Danville, Virginia, approximately 260 miles from their South Carolina home.
Antar and Aspen were then found inside a blue 2015 Mazda in a hospital parking lot, Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said during a Friday press conference. Police allege that the car was stolen.
Antar, 47, has been charged with murder and grand larceny, police said.
Aspen, who has disabilities that make it difficult for her to communicate and walk, was found in safe condition and is being returned to her family.
“Aspen will not become a ward of the state. We’re going to make sure that she’s with family,” Jumper’s family attorney Justin Bamberg said Friday, according to People.