INDIANAPOLIS - A child was reunited with her family after the car she was sleeping in was stolen from a driveway on the city’s east side Thursday evening.
The child was found in the 1300 block of North Delaware Street shortly before 8 p.m., officials with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said.
Police said Donald Nixon, 32, stole the car from a home in the 2200 block of Fairweather Drive, near 21st Street and Cumberland Road, while the toddler was in the back seat around 6:30 p.m.
Nixon has a history of mental illness including bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia, officials said.
Officials said Nixon’s brother dropped him off at his father’s house, which is a couple homes down from where the little girl lives. Nixon’s father didn’t answer the door and Nixon got cold waiting outside, so he went to the child’s house and asked her mother, Emily Voss, to use her cellphone, police said.
"And I said, 'Oh, yea, yea.' And I started to hand it to him and he said, 'I'm not really good at phones.' And I said, 'OK, what's the number?" And I dialed the number he gave me and that one didn't pick up so he gave me another number. I said, here, you want to leave a message? 'No, no, that's OK.' I said, 'OK, but you need to zip up.' He was shaking. I said, 'I know I'm being a mother here but you need to zip up. You're going to get hypothermia out here waiting for your Dad,'" Voss said.
Voss had left her daughter in the car to stay warm while she cleared snow from the driveway before they left.
Voss let Nixon sit in the passenger seat of the running car to warm up. She said he suddenly moved to the driver’s seat and began to drive away, officials said.
"I was hollering my prayers. I was like, please Lord, I pray, please make sure that he has enough goodness in his heart that he can find a place to leave her that's safe," Voss said.
Police said Nixon let the girl out of the car about an hour and a half after the search for the child began. Police said a citizen found the little girl sitting in the middle of an apartment lobby with only one shoe.
Police said the child appeared to be stable and unharmed.
Officials believe Nixon recently checked out of Wabash Valley Hospital Mental Health Center in Lafayette.
Voss said she doesn’t want any harm to come to Nixon because she is aware of his mental illness, but she does want him found so he can get the help he needs.
Police are still searching for Nixon and the car – a 2001 tan Buick Century with Indiana license plate number 995AOP.
Nixon is described as a black male, 150 pounds, 5 feet 8 inches, with black hair, brown eyes and was last seen wearing a maroon/yellow jacket with multi-tone sweatpants.
This was the second tragedy to hit Voss and her family. Her brother, Deon Longworth, was killed in the Richmond Hill Explosion in November 2012.