WEST VALLEY CITY — West Valley police issued an Amber Alert Friday for a 10-year-old girl who police say was forcibly taken from her school by her mother.
The same girl was reportedly abducted last year and was eventually located in North Dakota after eight months.
"We're obviously very concerned for this 10-year-old little girl," said West Valley Police Sgt. Mike Powell. "We are out actively pursuing, trying to locate the biological mother who is the suspect in this case."
Powell said the mother, Athena Venus Barker, does not have legal custody of her daughter, Aliyah Kay Crowder, and police were concerned about the way she was taken from Silver Hills Elementary School during lunch time.
"A lot of kids were scared by this," Powell said.
Barker walked into the school around noon and passed the front desk where parents and visitors are supposed to sign in, said Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley. She then walked to the line where her daughter's class was preparing to enter the lunch room and grabbed her.
"It appears her actions were very precise," he said.
A teacher asked Barker if she had checked in, and Barker said she had. A front desk secretary who had followed Barker said she had not, however, and indicated Barker needed to come to the office to "address the situation." Barker then handed the secretary "professed legal documents, which turned out to be nothing," Horsley said.
School employees said Aliyah had a "shocked look on her face" when her mother took her.
"She grabbed her daughter and started forcibly moving her to the front entrance," Horsley said. "Our staff made every effort they could short of attacking this woman physically to get her to remove her daughter."
Barker walked out the front door of the school, got into her vehicle and drove off, Horsley said. The girl's stepfather, Sanford Barker, was driving the vehicle, a dark-colored Chevy Impala or Malibu license plate Z982UC, according to Powell.
Aliyah has brown hair, blue eyes, is 4 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 70 pounds. She was last seen wearing a dark blue shirt with Levis, knee-high Converse tennis shoes with one black lace and the other a white lace, a black jacket with brown fur and double pierced ears with one side hoops and the other side posts with poles.
Friday was not the first time the girl has been abducted.
Aliyah was reunited with her father in October of last year after she had been missing for about eight months. Police recovered her after her stepfather, Sanford Barker, failed to stop for an officer who attempted to pull him over for a broken taillight, WDAY News 6 in North Dakota reported. Instead, Barker allegedly sped up and fled to a camper in a trailer park.
Killdeer, N.D., police impounded Sanford Barker's car, where they found a photo of a young girl that matched the description of Aliyah. The station reported that the girl had been staying with her mother, Athena Venus Barker, and Sanford Grayson Barker, neither of whom had custody of the child.
Police believed the girl had been in Killdeer since she was reported missing and was not attending school.
“I don’t think they let her out very much,” Killdeer Police Chief Chris Fenstermaker told WDAY in October. “That’s why it took us so long to find out where she was at.”
West Valley police reported they have some info leading them to believe the Barkers may be trying to leave the state.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or call detective Garrett Freir at 801-509-1522.
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