KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the first time in three long, painful years, William Warren heard his daughter Lillie's voice Monday night.
The 13-year-old, abducted by her mother after a bitter custody dispute in 2010, was recovered on Monday by U.S. Marshals, who arrested her mother in Oklahoma and promptly called her father in Kansas City, Mo.
"There's just so many thoughts and images that are going through my mind right now," Lillie's father William Warren told 41 Action News on Monday. "I can't sort them all out. But whatever it takes for her I'll do it and I'll be there for her."
In the midst of our interview, Lillie called her father. Heavy with emotion, they discussed briefly the events of the last three years, and exchanged ‘I-love-you's'. When Warren said he would pick his daughter up in the morning, she asked if he still had his red truck.
Warren's battle to find his daughter was a long and frustrating one. After the abduction in June 2010, he went to Kansas City police several times asking for help, but was told the case was a civil matter, and no charges were filed.
His wife Barbara spearheaded a guerilla campaign to raise awareness about Lillie's abduction: calling media, badgering police and even hounding judges to call attention to the case.
"I took it a little bit too far because I started going to the judge's house. I wouldn't advise nobody to do that but I went a couple of nights and knocked on his door and demanded somebody do something," Mrs. Warren said.
She added that the judge threatened to have her arrested, but by late summer the investigation into the case had been actively rejoined, and in August the Jackson County Prosecutor's office issued a warrant for the arrest of Carla Osborne, Lillie's mother.
As of now, Lillie Warren remains in Oklahoma. Her father plans to drive overnight to collect her as soon as the courthouse opens in Edmond, Okla.
The 13-year-old has told her father that her mother moved her from place to place over the years, including time spent living in motels, and on the streets. She has not recently been enrolled in school.