SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane family credited the power of social media for helping end the desperate search for an 8-year-old child last weekend.
Baylee Mulvey said Anthony Hall broke into her mother's home Friday and demanded to take their son, Brenden. Witnesses told police that Hall pointed a gun at the woman and said "you think you are going to take my son away from me." Then he left the home with the child.
"At first, I'm not gonna lie, I didn't have hope," Mulvey said.
Mulvey said she and other family members posted online, pleading for people to share their photos of Brenden, Hall and the RV they may have been traveling in. It didn't take long for thousands of people to see and share the posts.
"It was everywhere within like an hour," Mulvey said.
Sunday afternoon, Spokane Police shared an alert asking the community to watch out for the two and call police if they were spotted. SPD later said an off-duty officer and a citizen spotted the RV near Trent and Fancher, in Spokane Valley.
On Sunday, they were able to safely reach the child and then arrested Hall for burglary, assault and malicious mischief.
He faced a judge Monday for his first appearance. That's when his atttorney argued Hall, who is a convicted felon, did not threaten the child. Hall's attorney also said there were discrepencies in witness testimony.
"I would be concerned that there are conflicting statements in what the two individuals in this matter describe as a firearm that was used in this matter," his attorney said.
The presiding judge handed down a $25,000 bond, saying he was concerned for the safety of the public and of the man's son.
Hall has two past felony convictions, including assault with a deadly weapon. Court documents from that case reveal he attacked the same woman with a weapon, in front of a child.
If Hall posts bond, there are two new court orders that he stay away from his son and that child's mother, who he is accused of poniting a firearm at.
Mulvey said Hall has a history of domestic violence and of terrorizing her family. That's why she was glad to know he was arrested.
"I pray to God that he serves time in jail for what he's done, because for the past eight years of my life, Brenden's life, my family's life, he's gotten away with everything bad he's ever done to us," Mulvey said.
Now, she and the rest of her family are focused on making sure Brenden has time to just be a kid. It's a chance they may not have had if not for support from social media.
"If you feel like no one is on your side, turn to social media. Ask for help. Make a status. Do what it takes," Mulvey said. "If we didn't share those posts, gosh knows if Brenden would have been home on Sunday."
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