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3-month-old abducted baby found safe; grandmother thankful

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — DaWonda Mack, a grandmother of 3-month-old La’Lani Peaches, is thrilled to have her granddaughter safely home.

“I’m just happy La’Lani is safe. She’s out of harm’s way,” Mack told News 8 on Wednesday night.

The first reported on Tuesday as being abducted was found safe Wednesday, Indianapolis police say.

Mack first learned her granddaughter was alive and well from news reports. She spoke to News 8 to express her excitement while she was on a separate Zoom call waiting to watch her daughter Aliyah and Le’Lani reunite.

La’Lani was reported missing around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after her noncustodial father refused to return her to her mother’s custody.

Macks said her daughter was seeking help at the Julian Center after years of reported domestic violence at the hands of Lawrence Whitsitt, her child’s father.

“I don’t know what precisely set him off (on the occasion he took La’Lani), but he came in, he was set off, and he jumped on her. In this process of him jumping on her, he kicked Aliyah over and she fell on the baby bed and she was on top of the baby and she had to hurry up and get off of the baby.”

Mack said her daughter allowed the child to go with Whitsitt and his mother to de-escalate the situation after he pulled a gun. When she tried to get the child back on Tuesday he fled with La’Lani.

“She was willingly sharing the baby with him and his mom to try to keep the peace, to try and keep her from being aggressive towards her,” Mack said.

Mack said her daughter’s jaw was broken in late December after an altercation with Whitsitt.

The relationship started back in 2019 and, Mack said, red flags existed in the early days.

“Her father went to get her from Indianapolis and take her back home to Gary, Indiana, just to give her a break from the situation,” Mack said. “And he (Whitsett) traveled down to Gary, Indiana, later on that night and he threw a Molotov cocktail through his (Aliyah’s father’s) window and set his couch on fire in the middle of the night, and that was our first warning sign.”

Up until this point, the women knew Whitsitt as Larry Peaches; he even went as far as to sign the child’s birth certificate with the alias.

Police by 10 p.m. Wednesday had shared that the child was found safe, and the father was in custody. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department had shared no information what fate if any the father might face.

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