RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — It's been just over a year since a Emma Grace Kennedy was kidnapped as a baby, but today she seems like your average toddler.
Kennedy, from Virginia, was abducted when she was only 7 months old. Carl Ray Kennedy, 51, was found at a trailer home park just north of Randleman with the girl on June 5, 2018.
On June 14, Emma reconnected with the deputies who rescued her and gave her a bag of gifts and an honorary deputy sticker.
The sheriff's office says it took her a little bit of time to warm up, but, once she did, they played hide and seek and Emma even gave the deputies hugs.
"My main goal was to get her out of the house and get her safety in case something else was in there we didn’t know about, a threat of any kind," said Deputy Jimmy Barnes, who got Emma out of the house, shortly after the 2018 rescue. "Just making sure she was safe that was the main thing."
She reportedly wasn't hurt during the alleged abduction, but Emma was evaluated at a local hospital afterward before she was released and left with her family.
Kennedy is accused of abducting Emma, his biological daughter, from the Danville, Virginia, area.
Police said Kennedy abducted the child after assaulting her mother at a Kwik Stop on Riverside Drive in Danville. He was believed to be armed with a knife.
Kennedy is a registered sex offender. His last known residence is 2688 Valewood Drive in Asheboro. Kennedy was convicted in 2014 of sexual battery, according to the NC Sex Offender Registry.
Kennedy's sister Sylvia Kennedy told FOX8 she does not believe her brother would hurt his daughter and that there is a good reason why he did what he did.
"I'm just thankful that he is alive and Emma Grace is safe! There is two sides to every story and I feel that he had a reason for taking his daughter like this,” Sylvia Kennedy said.
Such a sweet reunion! Emma Grace visiting the team of deputies who found her in Randolph County days after she was abducted one year ago. Hear from Emma’s mother tonight on @myfox8 at 6. pic.twitter.com/jZ9u9R408N
— Tess Bargebuhr (@Tessbargebuhr) June 14, 2019