A Thomson man and his 12-year-old son were reunited last week following a 2 1/2 week absence from each other, because the mother of the boy fled to Texas with him during the spring break.
The child's biological mother since has been arrested by Texas authorities on a fugitive warrant.
"I'm very excited to see my son again," said Ronald Dawson, after his son was returned to him last Wednesday afternoon by Investigator Lt. Scott Whittle of the Thomson Police Department. "This was an excellent job by police."
Mr. Dawson's son, Barnard, a seventh grader at Thomson Middle School, was flown from Texas to Atlanta and then onto Augusta Regional Airport where Lt. Whittle picked him up in his patrol car and returned him to Thomson. Sgt. Steve Johns of the Richmond County Marshall's Office made arrangements through Delta Airlines for the flight.
"I can't explain how good it feels to have my son back home," said Mr. Dawson, a truck driver. "This is a happy time. I'm going to spend time talking to him and letting him know how much we love him."
Mr. Dawson's current wife, Rachelle, who has two children of her own, Charles and James Nicholson, said she's glad her step-son is back home.
"This is where Barnard belongs - with us," said Mrs. Dawson, who works in the medical profession. "It's so good to see him again and to know that's he's alright. I'm overwhelmed about this whole situation. We'll never forget how good we were treated by the Thomson Police Department."
Police Chief John Hathaway said such a compliment "is as good as it gets in this business." He also praised Lt. Whittle for his work on the case, saying, "Scott did a real good job. I'm glad things turned out like they did for this local family."
Mr. Dawson explained that he and his son's mother, Kathy Davis, who now lives in Houston, met while serving as soldiers in the U.S. Army 13 years ago. They later married and then divorced about three years ago.
Ms. Davis appeared in a Harris County courtroom last week where she waived extradition back to Thomson on a charge of felony interference with child custody, according to Lt. Whittle.
On Monday, McDuffie County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Coke, Jailer Ken Zaydel and 911 Emergency Center Director Tracy Neal flew to Houston to bring Ms. Davis back to Thomson, according to McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Major Ronnie Williamson.
She now is being held in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center in Thomson.