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Custody dispute leads mother to file false report in case of missing girl

Massive search ends in police finding girl at hotel with her mother who reported her missing


After a nearly 12-hour search for a missing 6-year-old Gresham girl, police found her safe in a hotel. Now, her mother who reported the girl missing faces charges ranging from filing a false report to child neglect and mistreatment.by: COURTESY: MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Sara Edmond

Sara Lea Edmond, 30, of Gresham is being held on $13,500 bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center on allegations of first-degree criminal mistreatment, child neglect, custodial interference, disorderly conduct and filing a false police report, said Det. John Rasmussen, Gresham police spokesman.

She will be arraigned on Monday, April 15.

Edmond reported her daughter, Carmen Alexandria Welch, missing from their Gresham apartment complex in the in the 1072 S.E. Highway 26 at about 3:15 p.m. Saturday, April 13. She told police that they'd gone to the girl's baseball game at North Gresham Grade School, 1001 S.E. 217th Ave. at around 1:15 p.m. When they returned home at about 2:15 p.m., the girl walked over to a playdate at the home of a friend who lives in the same apartment complex. The girl never arrived.

Gresham police officers and members of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office search and rescue team immediately searched the complex and nearby areas. Unable to find her, they widened the search area

The East County Major Crimes Team – including detectives from Fairview Police, Troutdale Police, Oregon State Police, Multnomah County Sheriff Office and Gresham Police – was activated. The county's Special Investigations Unit, Portland Police K9 and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations also responded.

Investigators followed leads to the Howard Johnson Hotel, at 572 N.E. Burnside Road in Gresham. There, inside room 139, they found the girl and her mother at 2:48 a.m. Sunday, April 14.

The girl is safe, physically unharmed and appears to be in good health, Rasmussen said. She's been reunited with her father, Marc Welch, 31, of Gresham.

“The investigation into exactly why Edmond secreted her daughter and initiated the false report, activating dozens of officers and investigators and alarming the public, is ongoing but appears to be related to a custody dispute Edmond is having with Welch's father,” Rasmussen said.