November 20, 2017 12:06 AM
It is the moment an entire family spent days hoping and praying for.
Sunday night 5-year-old Lily Ortiz and her grandmother marched through the airport and into the arms of those waiting to hold young Lily again.
It was an emotional trip for Lily's grandmother Inez Torres.
Saturday night she hopped on a flight to San Diego where police found Lily and her mother late Friday night at a hotel.
Lily's mother Renee Stong does not have custody of her daughter. She is accused of taking Lily off a bus last week and flying to California.
News of the missing girl spread across the country. That led to a break in the search.
Investigators said a hotel clerk recognized Stong and called in a tip. Stong was arrested and Lily was taken to social services.
Family and friends said they know this case could have had a much different ending.
“That's God's handiwork right there,” family friend Jose Peo said. “It's usually police who find the child or the unfortunate happens and thank God it didn't happen that way.”
Social workers told Lily's grandmother they could release the girl but Torres had to get to San Diego and bring documents proving she is her legal guardian.
Torres landed late Saturday night then made the quick turnaround and Lily got first class treatment.
As for what is next for this family now that they are back together, it is pretty simple.
“We're just gonna go home and spend time with her and just be with her hug her and show her off,” Torres added.
Lily said she just wants to go home and eat some chicken.
While Lily is back home in Rochester the investigation into this case continues.
As of Sunday night, her mother remains in San Diego behind bars she’s being held without bail on a fugitive from justice warrant.
It is still not clear when Stong could be brought back to Rochester or what additional charges she could face.
RPD said any further updates could be released as early as Monday.
Updated: November 20, 2017 12:06 AM
Created: November 18, 2017 04:49 AM
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