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4-year-old boy found safe, reunited with father

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Updated: 10/11/2013 8:12 pm

STARKE, Fla. -- A missing child alert is canceled for a 4-year-old Aiden Waters who disappeared from Bradford County. According to the Bradford County Sheriff's Office he was found just before 6 a.m. by the Palm Bay Police Department, nearly 200 miles away from his home in Starke.

According to Capt. Brad Smith with the Bradford County Sheriff's Office, the boy's father, Kenneth Waters, returned home from work at 5 p.m. Thursday to find the boy and his babysitter gone. Smith said Waters was able to talk to the babysitter, 26-year-old Jessica Cox, via text message.

"The babysitter had told him that she wasn't there that she'd be back in a couple of hours," said Smith.

Smith said that Cox told Waters she and Aiden were at a friend's house but when he contacted the friend he was told she was not there. According to Smith, the father spent several hours searching on his own before calling police about 11 p.m.

Around 5 a.m., Cox was pulled over in Palm Bay after police there say she drove the wrong way in the drive-thru of a Starbucks. She was arrested and charged with a DUI. 

Waters was transported to Palm Bay by Bradford County deputies to reunite with his son. Waters did not want to speak on camera but told Action News he met Cox while she worked at a day care his son used to attend. For the past two weeks, she had been helping to look after Aiden while he was at work.

"What was going though her mind, why she would take someone's child and not answer her phone," said Aiden's aunt, Krystle Phillips.

The Bradford County Sheriff's Office believes Cox made the trip as a favor to her boyfriend who needed a ride to Port St. Lucie.

Action News spoke to Cox's mother, Michelle Cox, who said this is not the daughter she knows.

"She's still our Jessica, just got lost along the way I guess," said Michelle Cox.

After Cox is released from Palm Bay she'll be brought back to Bradford County where she'll be facing child neglect and interference with child custody charges.

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