LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – For the first time, Luther Lewis and Melissa Schell are talking about their missing daughter Rebecca.
The four-year-old was discovered missing from her bed in the Lazy Dazy trailer park early Saturday morning. Authorities issued an Amber Alert later that afternoon after determining a former family friend had kidnapped her.
Luther Lewis broke down in tears as he spoke about his daughter.
“I love you and miss you baby girl,” pleaded Schell, Rebecca’s mother. “Becky, we love you baby and we’re trying everything. We did this for you baby. Please, Matt, just bring her home. Take her somewhere safe.”
Matt is Matthew Clark Pybus, a 31-year-old family friend who recently legally changed his name to West Wild Hogs. Rebecca’s family says he showed up at the Lewis home on Friday, saying he was about to begin a new job in the area on Monday.
Hogs vanished with the little girl on Saturday. Surveillance cameras at a Forsyth, Georgia gas station captured images of the pair. Authorities report that Rebecca appeared to be in good health but they have no idea where Hogs and the child went from there.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Scott Wilder says investigators are worried about the little girl’s well being, especially if she is not found soon.
“Our concern is she is with this former friend of the family. We don’t know if he has intentional harm planned for this little girl,” Wilder explained. “He didn’t have permission to pick her up, he doesn’t have permission to keep her.
Schell is hopeful Hogs will hear their pleas and will do the right thing.
“We just want our baby home, safe – Matt, West, whatever you go by, if you’re watching or hearing us, please just drop her off somewhere in a safe location so our baby can please come home,” Schell said. “She’s well loved; just please let this baby come home.”
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on this case. They have set up a special hotline number to take tips on Rebecca’s disappearance – 1-877-419-0934.
Late Sunday, Heartland Crime Stoppers announced a $3,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Rebecca Lewis.
The following is from a release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office: ANYONE WITH INFORMATION WHO WANTS TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS AND BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CASH REWARD IS ASKED TO CALL 1-800-226-TIPS or LOG ONTO www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com <http://www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com>. ANONYMITY IS GUARANTEED! To submit a web tip, go to www.P3Tips.com <http://www.P3Tips.com> and follow the prompts.