A Georgia man accused of fleeing with his toddler daughter during a custody exchange is behind bars and will likely face kidnapping and aggravated assault charges.
AJC reports that 39-year-old Robert Joseph Peeples was captured in Gwinnett County on Thursday night, in a home off of Peninsula Trace. Police spotted Peeples sitting inside a white van and surrounded him. He was arrested without incident.
“The officers gave him verbal commands, and he complied,” Gwinnett police spokesperson Cpl. Michele Pihera said. “He was immediately taken into custody and transported to the Gwinnett County Jail.”
According to police, Peeples had a volatile relationship with his daughter’s mother and had threatened to leave with the toddler in the past. He made good on his word on early Thursday morning while dropping 1-year-old Baylee Peebles off to her mother, and ended up hitting the woman with his van when he drove away. Police said the girl’s mother wasn’t severely injured.
Authorities found Baylee on Thursday afternoon after Peebles dropped her off at a relative’s home in Gwinnett County, according to 11 Alive News. Police said she appeared to be fine.
“I jumped up for joy, it feels like the weight has been lifted off our shoulders. This one has a happy ending,” Arcade Police Chief Randy Williams said.
Peebles remains behind bars at the Gwinnett County Jail.
Georgia authorities are searching for a missing toddler said to be in “extreme danger,” according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
AJC reports that 1-year-old Baylee Sue Peeples disappeared on Thursday morning at around 1:50 a.m. from Rock Forge Road in Jefferson. Police believe she’s traveling with Robert Joseph Peeples, 39, who could possibly be headed toward Gwinnett County, Georgia, or to Mississippi.
A Levi’s Call was also issued for Baylee, which is Georgia’s equivalent for an AMBER Alert and an “investigative tool that can be activated only by local law enforcement agencies through a request to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI),” according to the GBI website.
Peeples, Baylee’s father, drove off with the toddler when he was supposed to be dropping her off with her mother, according to Channel 2 Action News. Robert Peeples reportedly told the mother that she would never Baylee again before he fled.
[Feature Photo: Baylee Peeples/Handout, NCMEC]