A 12-year-old girl was reunited Wednesday with her mother after a school secretary recognized the girl from a picture in a missing children’s pamphlet.
“I’m very happy,” said Donna Marie Nash after seeing her mother, who lives in Pomona, for the first time in five years. “It’s been a long time. It seems like a big dream.”
“I remembered my mom and I didn’t know where she was. I always wondered if she was dead, but God told me she wasn’t.”
Donna had moved to Kingman from Georgia about two weeks ago with her father, Gene, who disappeared with the girl after taking temporary custody of her when his former wife, Nancy Nash, ran into financial problems.
“She’s taller,” Nancy Nash said after the reunion. “She looks so much like me.”
Nancy Nash said that during the last five years she “prayed a lot and depended on the Lord to bring her home.”
“There was a time, a very short while ago, that I wished she was dead so I would know for sure and know she wasn’t coming back.”
Case Mullen, juvenile resource officer for the Police Department, said Donna was identified as a missing child after Ednamae Jones, a secretary at Kingman Elementary School, saw a picture of her in a booklet circulated by Operation Child-Find.
Mother Given Custody
Mullen said Nancy Nash had been given custody of the girl when the couple was divorced, but agreed to let the child live temporarily with Gene Nash in 1981.
After Nash left California with the girl, he told her “Mom was dead,” Mullen said. He said father and daughter had lived in several states since then.
Mullen said local authorities did not plan to file charges against Gene Nash, but that he might face legal action in California.
“I just want her so badly,” Gene Nash said after his daughter and her mother left for California. “I love her so much.”
Gene Nash said he told his daughter that her mother had died so “she wouldn’t think of her mother and it would be easier.”
“I know what I did was wrong, but that was the only way I knew,” he said. “I’m tired of running. I’ve gone as far as I could go. We came to Kingman to live. We weren’t going to go anywhere else.”
“I’ll miss my dad,” the tearful girl said as she prepared to leave. “I’ll miss my cats and dogs and all that.”
“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do . . . all those days we missed,” her mother said. “Do you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to celebrate the birthdays and the Christmases we missed.”