October 15, 2003 -- Revised at 10:45 p.m. CDT
HICKORY RIDGE, AR -- Hickory Ridge residents give thanks for the safe return of a 9 year old boy taken by his father.
Troy Yarbro was on a scheduled visit with his great-grandmother and father. Michael Yarbro was supposed to return his son to the boy's home Sunday, but instead Yarbro took the child on an unscheduled trip to Virginia.
"I missed my mom and daddy, and I missed my family," said Troy Yarbro.
Troy said his father, Michael Yarbro, and his father's fiance, Natosha Hulbert, drove the three of them in her car to Virginia. They left Arkansas on Friday and arrived there on Saturday.
The boy went on to explain that his father had planned to return to Arkansas with him, his father's fiance and her belongings in her car, but instead she stranded them near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Michael Yarbro left his son with some workers at a Waffle House, while he went with a friend to the woman's home to retrieve his belongings.
The 29 year old father and his son then got a ride with a semi-truck driver. Troy Yarbro's great grandmother picked them up Wednesday morning in Forrest City.
When asked about the first thing he did when he got home, Troy Yarbro said, "Gave my mom and dad (referring to his step-father, Rayvis DeWhitt) a hug and cried."
Tammy DeWhitt, Troy's mother, said "I was stunned; just shocked. I started crying."
Elders at the Hickory Ridge Church of Christ had planned a service with hopes that their prayers would bring the 9 year old home. Once he was returned to his family, they decided to go ahead with the service to say thanks.
Sherman Cullum, a church elder, explained, "We turned it over to the good Lord the first day this all happened, and, of course, he delivered."
Tammy DeWhitt hasn't decided if she'll ask a judge to change Michael Yarbro's visitation rights with their son. "...because he did hurt me, but I honestly don't think he meant to," said DeWhitt.
Troy Yarbro had no injuries. Family members and friends feel blessed by his safe return. "I'm just thankful he's home," said his mother. Troy Yarbro added, "This is my home. This is where I was born."