Child located, questions still surround circumstances

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Many questions still surround the mysterious disappearance of Shalawndria Chestnut, 10, of Jonesboro. The girl was found late Thursday night at Hampton Inn on Phillips Drive by hotel staff. She was located at the hotel at 7:30 Thursday evening, but wasn't identified as a missing child until approximately 9:30 that night.

"I get a phone call and the desk clerk tells me that there is a 10-year old girl here who is wanting a key to a room. She said that her mother has left her here to go shopping or to find a date," said Doris Hannah, who manages the Hampton Inn. "The woman is not registered under her name and that they came with a friend, and the little girl does not remember the room number."

Hannah said her desk clerk was approached by the little girl who was looking for a room. Hannah believes the girl entered through the back door.

"She asked her what kind of clothes she had with her and she said just a pair of pajamas," said Hannah. "She thought the little girl had left. One of the other guests here at the hotel said she seen her go out the back door, but apparently she didn't leave. She did come back so I asked her to get the little girl and keep her with her and to call the police."

Police were notified of the child's disappearance by Kimberly Renee Calvin of Jonesboro. According to the incident report released by Jonesboro Police, Calvin told police her daughter left the school on foot instead of using the bus. The report also said Calvin stated the girl didn't come home because she was in trouble. Calvin reportedly searched family and friends' homes without any success. Jonesboro Police placed the child in the National Crime Information Center.

"We received a call from the mother of the missing girl who told us that her child who normally rides the bus home from school but today she decided to walk home from school and that her daughter had not arrived home from school," said Sgt. Steve McDaniel with the Jonesboro Police Department. "What we understand is that the little girl thought she was going to get into some kind of trouble at home, some kind of issue at home, so she didn't come home after school."

Police said the child was not in danger as far as abduction or violence. Upon further investigation, police chose to search for the girl without putting her into a Morgan Nick Amber Alert.

"I don't think she was in any danger. I just think she was afraid of what her mother might say about what she had done," said Hannah.

"An Amber Morgan Nick Alert normally has to be sent through the ACIC (Arkansas Crime Information Center) system through our dispatch center and then it would go to the state. The state would determine whether or not to issue a nationwide Amber Morgan Nick Alert," said McDaniel. "Normally when we feel someone is endangered missing, they may have traveled some distance or it might be helpful to get the word out on a nationwide basis, then we would ask for a Morgan Nick Amber Alert."

Police searched the girl for signs of abuse, but the search turned up nothing suspicious. Police notified the National Child Abuse Hotline, which is standard procedure for missing person reports.

"The little girl had been here alone, had been here for several hours. Nobody knew. We didn't know the little girl was lost or had ran away, it was, I guess, a situation where she had ran away from home. The mother thought she had been kidnapped," said Hannah.

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