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Mother arrested for falsely reporting her daughter missing


She left 6-year-old girl alone in a motel room for eight hours while police scoured the area for her

After a nearly 12-hour search for a missing 6-year-old Gresham girl, police found Carman Alexandria Welch scared and crying in room 319 at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Gresham at 2:48 a.m. Sunday, April 14, said Det. John Rasmussen, Gresham Police spokesman,

She was hiding under the bed as her mother had instructed her, Rasmussen said.

The girl's mother, who reported the girl missing, now faces criminal charges ranging from child neglect to filing a false police report. 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.

She allegedly left the girl alone in the hotel room for eight hours, from 3 p.m. shortly before Edmond reported her missing until 11 p.m. when her mother returned to the room, Rasmussen said.

Edmond reported her daughter 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.

By about 5 p.m. Edmond “stopped cooperating” with the police, Rasmussen said, adding that she didn't want to let police search her property.

Armed with search warrants, police found a receipt for the room at the Howard Johnson, 1572 N.E. Burnside Road, where they found her safe. The girl, who attends Powell Valley Elementary School, was crying and scared, she was relieved to be reunited with her father, Marc Welch, 31, of Gresham, Rasmussen said.

“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.

It is unclear what Edmond planned to do with the girl. “Whether it was to get her out of the state, out of the country or to harm her, we don't know,” Rasmussen said, adding that mental health issues may also be a factor in the case. “There were just so many poor decisions on her part.”

The police could request that the court order Edmond to reimburse the various police agencies involved in the search for the cost of it. But that total is likely to be in the tens of thousands of dollars and it's unlikely Edmond has the means to pay such restitution, Rasmussen said.