Young mother, baby disappear from DFCS custody in Columbus

Police are searching for pair after prior escapes

A 5-month-old baby from Columbus has been reported missing after the infant's teenage mother escaped from the custody of the Georgia Division of Families and Children Safety, police said Thursday.

Ma’liyah Cooks was last seen with her mother Mariah Walton.

It's not the first time that Walton, 16, has gone missing.

DFCS officials said the young mother escaped previously Oct 9.

In March 2017, when Walton was 14, her family reported she had run away from home for the second time in a week. In that episode, her family said she left during the night without permission, but was later found and returned home.

A Facebook page called Missing Persons Cases Network posted about the case Thursday.

In the latest case, authorities have not said whether Walton or her baby went missing from a foster home or a DFCS facility.

According to the agency's protocol, children who are removed from their homes go to a relative’s home that is deemed safe or into a foster home. DFCS evaluates and determines all potential homes, which could include relative and non-relative placements.

Caption
DFCS officials say Mariah Walton went missing previously on Oct 9.

Credit: Columbus Police Department

DFCS officials say Mariah Walton went missing previously on Oct 9.
Caption
DFCS officials say Mariah Walton went missing previously on Oct 9.

Credit: Columbus Police Department

Credit: Columbus Police Department

Columbus police didn't offer a description of the girl or Walton, except to say the mother wears her hair in a ponytail and was last seen carrying a Mickey Mouse diaper bag.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Columbus Police Department Special Victims Unit at 706-653-3449.