Missing South Carolina girl found in Iowa after Minnesota, Iowa sightings

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Surveillance images believed to be Dakota Ray and William and Jessica Ray in Iowa, distributed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

A two-year-old girl reported missing in South Carolina in mid-April was located in Iowa late Thursday and is safe in protective custody, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed. Dakota Ray was recently spotted in Iowa and Minnesota, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Camden Police Department in South Carolina.

Dakota was taken on April 15, 2018 by her parents William Ray and Jessica Ray. According to police, both William and Jessica are believed to be heavy methamphetamine users, adding to the concern for the Dakota’s safety. 

William and Jessica Ray were arrested in Iowa on unrelated charges.

Dakota and her parents were recently spotted in surveillance images captured on Monday, May 14 at a hospital in Iowa. Police also received information that the Rays may have been in Minnesota, possibly in Worthington or Jackson.

Camden Police investigators had been looking for Dakota Ray and her parents since mid-April. The parents lost custody of their child through a judge's order. On April 12, social services placed Dakota with her uncle while they investigated the case. But on April 16, Dakota’s uncle left her with William Ray while he went to get some food, and the two were gone by the time he returned.

The Rays were spotted in North Carolina and Kentucky prior to their sighting in Iowa.