Zelaya Wright was reported missing late Monday night and was found safe Tuesday evening. Harvey Lee Nichols is in custody and charged with her disappearance.
“I sat outside until 6 o’clock this morning,” Adrienne Wright, Zelaya’s mother, told NewsChannel 6.
She was waiting to hear from Harvey Lee Nichols. Wright told us she was hospitalized Monday afternoon, so she asked him to pick up her daughter, Zalaya Wright, then bring her back to the hospital. She said she even let Harvey borrow her car, but Wright said the pair and her car never returned.
“Last communication was 10 o’clock last night,” Wright said.
NewsChannel 6’s Samantha Williams asked,”And that is when he said…?”
“He was on the way with her, but he never showed,” she replied.
So that is when Wright contacted North Augusta Public Safety for help to bring her one-year-old home.
The mother told us she has known Nichols, a neighbor, for one year.
“What we do have is a history with him, but not a history with child abduction,” Lt. Tim Thornton with North Augusta Public Safety explained.
We checked out Nichols’ booking records at the Aiken County Detention Center and discovered he has a long rap sheet there. He was arrested at least 13 times in the past 16 years– for driving under the influence, possession of drugs, assault and possession of a stolen vehicle, to name a few.
“We were sitting here praying, praying that she would come home with a safe return,” Wright described. “Right after the prayer, glory be to God, my neighbor came running in saying, ‘We found your baby! We found your baby!'”
She said Zelaya and Nichols were spotted sitting in her white Honda Pilot at this McDonald’s in Beech Island. Law enforcement arrived on the scene shortly after, and Nichols was arrested.
“She was happy to see me, but the first thing she said was her pacifier, of course,” Wright described Zelaya.
This is an ongoing investigation, and Wright still has several unanswered questions as to why Nichols made those decisions.
Photojournalist: Antony Sherrod