Police seek missing girl, 6, and her mother who left U.S. in January
'There is no suggestion there is a concern for Ayla's safety': Winnipeg police
Winnipeg police are looking for six-year-old Ayla Velic who was allegedly taken from Michigan by her mom, Elmedina, in January.
Ayla was taken from Clinton Township, Mich., without permission from her father and needs to be returned, Const. Rob Carver said Friday morning.
"What we know from U.S. authorities is that it was sometime in January when [Elmedina Velic] was believed to have left with her daughter," Carver said at a news conference where he released photos of the mother and child.
Ayla's father Denis Velic, who has joint custody, said he dropped her off at school Jan. 2. After school the next day, his ex-wife picked Ayla up and he hasn't seen his daughter since.
"It's terrible, it's been really bad," Velic said Friday. "I'm just waiting for anybody to give me a call and say 'hey, we found your daughter, she's fine.' Hopefully soon," he said. "Hopefully soon."
He said he's been working with U.S. authorities but hasn't heard much back so far. He has no idea of whether Ayla's OK.
"It's frustrating, it's very frustrating. I'm on the phone all the time, talking to people here, trying to get some state help," he said.
"Is she safe? She needs to go back to school."
Ayla must be returned to the U.S. under an international treaty governing child abductions, Carver said.
"There is no suggestion there is a concern for Ayla's safety," Carver said.
"We're notified that she could be in Winnipeg as part of the U.S. authorities looking for her," he said.
"Elmedina is originally a Canadian and there is, I believe, family and friends here."
Family in Winnipeg
Velic said his ex-wife's family lives in Winnipeg, and she has a close friend in the city as well. He told authorities the friend's name, and they checked out her house but didn't find them, he said.
He said Ayla is shy and won't talk to strangers, but is very smart for her age. She loves watching cartoons and playing outside, and probably misses her pet Yorkie, he said.
Elmedina Velic, 30, is about five feet, six inches, and 160 pounds. She was last known to be driving a 2016 red Nissan Versa with the Michigan licence plate DUE 2506.
They travelled to Winnipeg earlier this year but might be in Ontario now, Carver said.
Anyone who has information about where they are should call the Winnipeg missing persons unit at 204-986-6250 or visit missingkids.ca or call 1-866-543-8477.