Erika Davis had been missing for 2 years, kidnapped by her father, her mother's family said. (Photo: Special to Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times)
Sabian Warren, Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times
SYLVA, N.C. - A 4-year-old girl who died Saturday after being critically injured in a Whittier, N.C., motel had been on the run with her father for two years, according to media reports from New Jersey.
Eric Lorenzo Davis, 23, was charged with child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury in the case after his daughter, Erika, was found with severe injuries at Qualla Motel in Whittier just after 7 a.m. Friday.
Further charges will be considered against Davis, pending the results of an autopsy scheduled for this week, according to a news release from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office here. Authorities have not said how the child was hurt.
The girl's mother, Billie Jo Brown of Cliffwood Beach, N.J., said family members had been searching for Erika and her 3-year-old brother since 2011, when their father, Eric Davis, kidnapped them, according to media reports.
Jackson County investigators have not said whether the boy was with Davis. Sheriff's Maj. Shannon Queen and Brown each could not be reached.
Brown's brother, Stefan Fetyko, made several Facebook posts about the family's search for the children.
"Eric never stayed in the same area for a long time, and he kept moving around, and we as a family could never find him, and the police had no luck either. Up until this day we were still searching for the kids," Fetyko wrote.
Davis had been staying at the Whittier motel about 10 miles from Sylva in mountainous southwest North Carolina for several weeks. He is being held at the Jackson County Detention Center on a secured $1 million bond.
Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times