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Abandoned girl's parents come forward


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The little girl who calls herself Courtney was found May 5. Authorities appealed to the public to help identify her.
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Baltimore (Maryland)
Brooklyn (New York)

(CNN) -- The parents of an abandoned 3-year-old girl who calls herself Courtney have been identified, a Maryland official announced Thursday evening.

The girl will remain in foster care until courts decide who should have custody, said Christopher McCabe, secretary of Maryland's Department of Human Resources.

Gary Gerstenfield, the attorney for the girl's mother, said she and the girl's father are separated. The mother had custody of the child but allowed the father to visit.

The father disappeared with the girl nearly two years ago and apparently moved to Baltimore, Maryland, the attorney said.

The mother had searched for her daughter, whose name is actually Akasha, in areas around Washington, D.C., Gerstenfield said.

She was found May 5 when her father asked a woman to watch his daughter as he cashed a check. The woman, a stranger, called police when he didn't return.

Because the girl was unable to provide her last name or her address, Maryland's Social Services Administration began a "sequence of outreach efforts with state and then national media trying to identify her," McCabe said.

As a result of that effort, a man and a woman claiming to be the child's parents, contacted the state separately, he said.

The child told authorities she was from Brooklyn. She said she and her father had been living in a Baltimore warehouse. McCabe said it appears the girl was from a neighborhood called Brooklyn in Baltimore.

The girl has been in foster care since she was found and will remain with her foster family until an investigation is complete. A hearing is expected within the next few days, McCabe said.

Gerstenfield said the girl's grandfather thought he recognized his granddaughter's picture when he briefly saw it on a local television station. He called back and asked for the station to replay the photo. Gerstenfield said the grandfather watched and immediately recognized his granddaughter on the second broadcast.


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