"Daddy loves you," David Buchanan cooed into the face of toddler daughter Madisyn Wednesday evening at the Putnam County Jail.
The reunion ended six months of anguish for Buchanan over the status of his 22-month-old daughter. She had been abducted in April by her mother, Kathryn Frame, after custody of the child was awarded to Buchanan.
A little stand-offish at first, Madisyn soon warmed up to her father and his girlfriend, high school sweetheart Jackie Reynolds, as a small group of onlookers watched the reunion.
"We're gonna have so much fun when we get home," David told the child, reminding her of the puppy she likes to play with at their Cloverdale residence.
Thomas Miller, investigator for the Putnam County Prosecutor's Office re-energized the search for Madisyn this week after learning the child and her mother had likely returned to Indiana. Frame was thought to have fled to Texas with the child earlier this year.
Police received a tip about the mother and child Wednesday after Madisyn's photo and an article was printed in The Brazil Times, sister publication of the BannerGraphic.
Miller credited that publicity with leading to the child's recovery.
Miller told the Greencastle newspaper that around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday a tip was reported to the Indiana State Police Post at Terre Haute. ISP contacted Miller, who then met the informant at the Clay County Sheriff's Department offices in Brazil.
The informant took Miller to the home of Frame's sister, who resided about a mile west of Putnam County in a remote area of northeastern Clay County.
As they approached the home, Miller said Frame saw police coming and fled with the child into a wooded area.
Miller said the man and two girls who lived at the home did not cooperate with police "in any way, shape or form." So police began to look around the property for Frame and Madisyn.
The investigator walked down a gravel road and saw a path that led through some weeds to some abandoned cars and an old camper. He called out to Frame, who made no response. But when he said he "just wanted to talk" to her, she came out of the camper into the weeds holding the child. The woman complained about the child's father gaining custody of the toddler, but eventually "broke down and walked out" of the weeds. She did not resist arrest after that, Miller said of Frame, and she did not say where she had been during the months that Madisyn was considered missing.
Miller said Frame was in Texas with the child for an undetermined amount of time. He intends to continue investigating that information, to put together a felony case against Frame.
"It's a felony to take her across the state line and she knew that," Miller said.
It was after 5 p.m. by the time the child was recovered.
"Madisyn was in good shape. She looked well taken care of," he said.
Frame had three duffle bags packed with belongings inside her sister's home, which indicated to Miller that the duo had been on the move often.
"I don't think she had been at her sister's house for very long. She had been moving around quite a bit," Miller said of the fugitive mother.
Frame was scheduled to be arraigned in Putnam Circuit Court Thursday morning on charges of violation of a custody order, a felony, and interference with custody, a misdemeanor.
Miller said he did not expect to pursue charges against Frame's sister or the people who harbored the fugitive.