SANFORD, Maine — A man who allegedly abducted his 2-year-old daughter and triggered the state’s first Amber Alert had recently broken up with the girl’s mother and was facing a custody hearing over their daughter.
Hailey Traynham and her mother were reunited Tuesday night in Sanford after the girl was found safe by a deer hunter who spotted her and her father in a pickup truck on a logging road in Milton, N.H.
The alert was issued Monday after police said Gary Traynham, 38, violently attacked the girl’s mother — his estranged girlfriend — and fled in a pickup truck he had stolen from a friend.
Traynham was being held Wednesday in a New Hampshire jail and faces an extradition hearing today.
The abduction took place five days after Hailey’s mother filed papers in District Court seeking a custody hearing for the girl. In court documents, she said the three had stopped living together as a family on Oct. 26, the same day Traynham was arrested for allegedly writing bad checks.
On Monday morning, Traynham went to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, sexually assaulted her and made off with Hailey, police said. After the alleged abduction, Maine State Police issued the alert. Additional bulletins were issued in New Hampshire and Vermont.
For more than a day, the FBI tracked Traynham as he checked and sent e-mails on his cell phone, said Sanford Police Chief Thomas Connelly. The FBI was able to pinpoint Traynham’s last cell phone transmission and drew an arc of about seven miles around the area where he was eventually found.
On Tuesday, Mike Grant Jr. of Milton, N.H., came across Traynham’s pickup truck while deer hunting. He recognized the truck from TV reports and walked up to the vehicle. Grant said Traynham told him he had been parked on the logging road since daylight Tuesday, but was low on fuel, money and ideas on what to do next.
Grant said they talked for an hour, with Traynham breaking into tears several times as they spoke about the challenges of raising children and maintaining relationships. They then drove to a nearby house, where police were called and arrested Traynham without incident.
Traynham faces a gross sexual assault charge in Maine for the alleged attack on his ex-girlfriend.
Police have identified the girl’s mother but The Associated Press generally does not name alleged victims in sexual assault cases.
The Amber Alert system went into effect around the country in December 2002.