Amber Alert canceled, 3-year-old found safe

WASHINGTON — The 3-year-old boy who law enforcement said was abducted by his father has been returned to his family, and is safe.

The Amber Alert for Zion Clinton Amir Williams was canceled about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, almost 12 hours after it was issued.

Captain Jeff Pearce, of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, said “an unknown person returned the boy to his maternal grandmother,” late Thursday morning.

While not identifying the person who brought the boy to his grandmother, Pearce said investigators believe Joshua Williams turned him over to that person.

“Joshua did the right thing and returned the child unharmed — we hope he does the right thing and turns himself in,” Pearce said.

The sheriff’s department has arrest warrants in hand to charge Williams, 28, with abduction and malicious wounding.

Wednesday evening, around 7 p.m., Pearce said Williams assaulted the boy’s mother and drove away with his son.

“The victim was beaten pretty badly,” Pearce said. “It’s been difficult to get a lot of information from her.”

One piece of information made authorities especially concerned: “The suspect has made threats to injure and kill the child in the past,” said Pearce.

Pearce said Williams — Zion’s biological father and the ex-boyfriend of Zion’s mother — visited her home Wednesday night. “They went for a drive in her vehicle … when they got into a domestic argument,” Pearce said.

Pearce said that Williams beat her in the head and face with the boy in the back seat, clad only in a diaper.

“During the time he was attacking her, the car slowed down; she was able to bail out, and run over to people on the street, looking for help,” said Pearce.

Soon after seeing the woman’s condition, the bystanders called authorities.

“When (Joshua Williams) saw them dialing 911, he took off,” said Pearce. “The car was found a few blocks away, in the 400 block of Cleveland Court.”

An Amber Alert was issued early Thursday for Zion Williams, who was last seen wearing only a blue and white “Cars” diaper.

Williams was described as a 5-foot-11 black man, weighing about 160 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing a navy blue and gray sweatshirt and blue jeans.

“He is still very prone to violence,” said Pearce. “He’s a very dangerous person.”

Pearce said Williams has family and friends in the Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg, “so we still believe he may be in this area.”

Anyone who has information regarding their whereabouts is asked to call the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office at 540-582-5822 or Virginia State Police at 1-800-822-4453.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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