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Fugitive mom turns herself in, explains child’s abduction

Posted at 4:06 PM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 17:21:17-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- A Virginia mother, wanted for abducting her own daughter, turned herself in on Tuesday.

Za’kiylah Miessence Ashlock, age 23 months, was last seen March 13 when her mother Imani Cogdell picked her up at a relative’s Newport News home. Cogdell, 20, has visitation rights, but not custody of Za’kiylah, police said.

Za’kiylah's aunt reported the child missing nearly one month later -- on April 11.

On Tuesday, before she surrendered and her daughter was returned to her guardian, Cogdell spoke with CBS 6. She questioned the story relatives told Newport News Police about the situation.

"It's funny how they said that, and I called them yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that and the day before that," Cogdell said in a phone interview with CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns.

Cogdell said that her daughter was in a good environment with her.

"When she is in that environment is when she's bad," she said. "Everybody that knows me and everybody that knows them knows how she is when she's with me and how she is when she's with them."

Police were looking for Cogdell and Za’kiylah in the Richmond-area, however, Cogdell said they were not in the area. She would not disclose their location.

Cogdell, who is charged with felony abduction and visitation violation, was considered a fugitive. She did tell CBS 6 that she planned on speaking with detectives and turning herself in soon.

"We've kind of got to go by what the folks are telling us, which is they don't believe she is in danger, but just needs to come home," police spokesman Lou Thurston said.

Police are aware Cogdell granted media an interview. Za’kiylah's guardian declined a request to comment.