Mom lied to police about abandoned child’s whereabouts, cops say

Maranda Harvey (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)
Maranda Harvey (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Just as Maranda Harvey was putting her belongings in her car at an Athens hotel last week after being questioned by police, an officer followed his intuition.

He wanted to try to get more out of the mother accused of leaving her child at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with two strangers, so he caught up with her outside.

A clerk at the Graduate Athens Hotel had called 911 after recognizing Harvey’s photo on the news. The mother was staying there and admitted to Officer D. Douglas she was the wanted woman, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report released Wednesday, but a check of her ID showed no warrants.

So Douglas released her, but he wasn’t satisfied.

“I told her that things didn’t make sense to me,” Douglas wrote in his report. “I told her Atlanta (police were) looking for her because she abandoned the child at the airport.”

Harvey told Douglas, according to the report, that she’d left the 4-year-old with her nanny, but when she struggled to come up with a name, Douglas grew more suspicious.

“I knew by the way she hesitated and looked off to the left she was not telling me the truth,” he said.

Harvey then told the officer she left the child with her 26-year-old daughter, the report states. Harvey is 30.

When Douglas confronted Harvey about the lie, she simply said: “That’s the benefit of being a mayflower,” according to the report.

The redacted report doesn’t say what exactly happened after the exchange, but Douglas asked for medical assistance. The report also says that her husband, Tyler Joseph Harvey, who was on active military duty, was granted emergency leave.

Police had been searching for Harvey since 7 a.m. Friday. That’s when they were alerted that she left her child with two people at the airport. Atlanta police Sgt. Warren Pickard said Harvey, who is from Odenton, Maryland, drove to the city with her daughter.

When she got to the airport atrium, Harvey asked sisters Huong Nguyen and Mai Nguyen to watch her child while she went to shop, Channel 2 Action News reported. When she didn’t return, they called police.

“Leaving your child at the airport for like an hour with two strangers, it’s quite something,” Huong Nguyen told Channel 2.

Police say Harvey abandoned her car, rented a white Nissan Versa and left town.

Authorities haven’t said why Harvey left her child at the airport or what ties she has to Georgia.

According to the report, her husband told police “she had never done anything like this before,” and didn’t know she had left their home and drove to Georgia. It wasn’t until he got a call from authorities that he knew she had disappeared with their child.

Cousin Amanda Hakimi told Channel 2 that Maranda Harvey was a “wonderful mother” and that the reports took them by surprise. Hakimi said Harvey may still be coping with the recent death of her father.

It is not known if Harvey is out of the hospital, and she has not been charged. Atlanta police said Wednesday that reckless conduct charges could be forthcoming.

“There are a lot of moving parts in this investigation and in no way are we not approaching this investigation with the sensitivity it deserves,” Officer Lisa Bender said in a statement. “But by the letter of the law a crime was committed. We are continuing to investigate towards that end.”

Atlanta police say Maranda Harvey, 30, left her 4-year-old daughter with the two women, claiming she had to do some shopping.

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