Father of girl who disappeared in 2016 headed to prison

The father of a Hall County girl who was the subject of a national Amber Alert in 2016 has been convicted on several child sex and molestation charges.

Stephen Spires, 32, was sentenced to life plus 120 years in prison in Spalding County on Thursday after a jury found him guilty on child molestation, statutory rape and other charges, a court official said.

Authorities found Spires and Brooklyn Smith, who was missing for 11 days in July and August 2016, at a hotel in McDonough, according to reports.

Smith’s mother, Selena Smith, and Spires were in a custody dispute when the girl disappeared, Channel 2 Action News reported.

MORE: Details released in rescue of missing girl

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Finding them followed an anonymous tip from a caller to authorities in Spalding County, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

The state Division of Family and Children Services took Smith, 12 at the time,  into custody. Spires and his girlfriend, 19-year-old Carmen Clay, were taken into police custody. 

MORE: Missing girl calls local TV station

He was arrested on warrants out of Spalding County. Clay was charged with interference with custody.

Spires also was convicted Thursday of sodomy, aggravated child molestation and sexual exploitation of a child. He was found not guilty by the judge’s directed verdict of sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery.

MORE: Atlanta crime news

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