73ºF

BSO helps woman reunite with son more than a year after father takes him

Deputies say woman allowed father to take him to Florida, but he never returned

OAKLAND PARK, Fla. – A Mississippi woman was reunited with her son Wednesday after a yearlong custody battle.

Broward Sheriff's Office officials said the woman, Callie Frith, allowed a relative of her son's father to take the boy, Sterling Petty, to Florida in the fall of 2015 to see his great uncle. But authorities said the father decided not to bring the toddler back to Mississippi.

Sterling's parents had been in a custody war for the boy ever since, and the woman was recently granted full custody, Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker confirmed.

Deputies said they found Sterling at Creative Mind Day care in Oakland Park thanks to a tip on social media.

His mother drove to South Florida through the night to meet him Wednesday morning.

Video released by BSO shows Sterling holding a balloon as he greets his mother for the first time in more than a year.

"The mother said that it had already been so many months where nothing had happened. She had started a Facebook page and was trying to spread the word as much as possible, but nothing had materialized," BSO spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion said. "So she was starting to lose hope and she was actually believing what the father was saying, that she may never see her son again."

Deputies said the boy's father will not be charged because Frith initially allowed the boy to come to Florida.


About the Authors: