A four-year-old girl who vanished with her schizophrenic mother eight months ago has been found in Spain.
Elliana Shand, who is also known as Elliana Richards, was spotted abroad earlier this week and was found to be safe and well.
It is now expected she will return home to England within the next few days.
Elliana disappeared from her London home after social services staff at Barking and Dagenham Council had raised concerns about her care.
She went missing with her mother Jessica Richards who is in her mid-twenties.
Mr Justice Hayden, a High Court judge, only last month pleaded for anyone with information to contact the police and help find the child explaining that she was at real risk.
As reported by The Mirror, he said in his appeal:
In optimum circumstances, the mother’s capacity to meet her daughter’s needs was barely satisfactory.
But, it is abundantly clear that under stress, perhaps not taking her anti-psychotic medicine, perhaps in the grip of auditory commands which are hallucinatory, she poses, despite her love for her daughter, a very real risk to her safety.
I am very concerned indeed about Elliana and her mother. It is imperative that they are found so that we can be sure they are safe.
This is a very much loved little girl. In that she is immensely fortunate.
She is a strikingly beautiful little girl.
He confirmed that she has now been found at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Friday.
She was discovered with her mother in Spain by local police.
The judge praised the work done by both the Spanish and British police as well as Foreign Office staff that led to her discovery.
He also applauded Elliana’s paternal grandparents Sean and Eileen Doyle, who are both in their fifties, for their efforts.
In May a judge concluded that Elliana’s mother could no longer care for her, being unable to give the necessary safety and security that was needed.
Care proceedings are not normally made public but in an unusual move the judge ensured that details of the case as well as pictures of Elliana and her mother were released to the media.
Previously the local authority’s plans were for Elliana to remain within her family but on the paternal side.
Now it is likely that she will be taken into care.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.