LILBURN, GA -- His family had lost sleep for four straight nights. Now, Leo Ristick no longer worries about the whereabouts of his niece, 12-year-old Pricella Ristick. Thursday night, she emerged unharmed in Las Vegas, the city she called home for the last two years.
"How she got to Vegas, I don't know. How she got away, I don't know," Ristick said Friday morning.
Pricella Ristick disappeared from a Lilburn shopping center Sunday evening. Surveillance images appeared to show her sprinting toward a white van. She called home two hours later -- saying she was with a woman named Nancy. Police treated it as an abduction, with many question marks.
"This, fortunately, turned out to be good. She's healthy, she's fine. The reasons why she left, we don't know. We're looking into that," said Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter.
It was a murky case from the outset and its resolution Thursday was no less puzzling. On Thursday afternoon, Pricella called her uncle, said that she was still with the woman named Nancy, and that she was at a grocery store in Atlanta. Later police used a phone trace to put the girl at an intersection in Las Vegas.
Leo Ristick spent part of the day making arrangements to get the girl back with her mother -- while Gwinnett and Nevada police tried to sort through the case file.
"If there's any criminal activity going on, we're going to do whatever we can to bring charges," Cpl. Ritter said. "If somebody helped facilitate her transport, that's interference with custody. Especially over state lines, you're looking at felonies."
Yet it was that rare criminal case with a happy ending.