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Mom reunited with missing 3-year-old daughter on Christmas

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DENVER -- Savanna Chavez only wanted one thing for Christmas: a reunion with her 3-year old daughter Avianna Garcia.  Ten days after the girl disappeared with her father, he’s behind bars and the girl is back home with her mother.

“We had the best Christmas ever,” said Chavez, 22.

Longmont police reunited mom and daughter Christmas morning after Denver Police called Longmont to do a welfare check on its behalf.  Chavez said her ex-boyfriend, 30-year Marcos Garcia, tricked her sister into letting him have Avianna for a visit on December 16th.  Later that day Chavez said she reached Garcia by phone only to be told, “You`re never going to see your daughter again!”

Chavez said when she went to Denver Police she felt they seemed more interested in finding her fugitive ex-boyfriend, who has multiple outstanding warrants including for attempted child abuse, than in finding Avianna.  “I had to do the whole investigation by myself,” complained Chavez.

Denver Police Department spokesman Ron Hackett admitted Chavez  had a judge’s order granting her emergency custody if Avianna was found but insisted officers couldn’t issue an Amber Alert because Garcia hadn’t been served the custody papers.

“Our hands are tied as far as the custody battle, his warrants would`ve taken him to jail,” said Hackett.

On Wednesday December 24th, police conducting surveillance found Marcos Garcia in a stolen car in the 4300 block of West Florida Avenue.  He was arrested for attempted robbery, drug possession and weapons possession but he refused to tell detectives the whereabouts of his daughter.

“Heartbreaking that my daughter had to be with some stranger all Christmas Eve, all night until Christmas Day,” said Chavez.

On Christmas morning, acting on a tip that Chavez supplied, police found Avianna at a Longmont house where her father had been staying.

“Basically, a miracle that my daughter came home safe with me.  That was the best Christmas ever to get her.  I wouldn`t have been grateful for anything else besides getting my daughter on Christmas day,” said a relieved Chavez.

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