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Mom's First Words To Michaela Bruce After 3 Day Search Ends
SPRINGFIELD -- For Tammy Bruce, this has been an insane roller coaster ride. First the Amber Alert in September and then the nationwide three day search that thankfully, finally came to an end Friday night.
"If it hadn't been for God I couldn't have gotten through this," said Bruce.
She got a call around 9:30 last night that her daughter Michaela Bruce, 14, and fugitive Mark Edwards, 44, were both in police custody.
"I just went hysterical," she said. "I was screaming and hollering."
Finally the moment she had been waiting for...seeing her daughter for the first time in 72 hours.
"I took her cheeks in my hand I said I know there is a God because he has answered all my prayers," she said.
We asked her Michaela's first words.
"She was really pale. She had grass and dirt through her hair. She had dirt in her ears. She said 'Mom, I need to brush my braces and teeth. I stink. I'm dirty. I just want to shower. I'm so cold I can't get warm,'" said Bruce.
Of course Mom had a few questions for Michaela.
"I asked her, 'Had you been talking to him the whole time?' She said 'Yes.'"
Michaela also told Tammy they had been sleeping anywhere and everywhere they could find.
"She said that he was planning on turning himself in that night because it was supposed to be getting colder and I don't think they had been seeing any of the broadcast," said Bruce.
The two were shocked to find out there had been a nationwide manhunt for them.
"I even told her I talked to Nancy Grace. She said 'Who's Nancy Grace?'"
Knowing she didn't have a phone, Tammy didn't let that stop her.
"I had been sending her text messages: 'Honey I miss you.' 'Call mommy.' I know it's going to be a long road. It's like she's been in a cult and she will have to be deprogrammed."
Tammy wants Michaela to stay in Juvenile detention for a while as she starts her recovery process. She went to visit her again today.
"That was hard," said Bruce. "She cried the whole time. She was on one side of the glass and I was on the other side of the glass. We talked through telephones. I couldn't hold her."
Tammy says she has already started packing and they do plan to move out of the area to get a fresh start. She also wanted to say thank you to police, community members who helped search for Michaela and a special thank you to the couple in the van.
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