Father reunites with 20-month-old daughter


by Amanda Goodman

Bio | Email | Follow: @AGoodmanReports


Posted on June 18, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 18 at 7:52 PM

PHOENIX -- It was an emotional homecoming for a Valley father and his daughter.

Eric Enriquez arrived at Sky Harbor International Airport on Wednesday with some precious cargo, his 20-month-old daughter.

"It's good to have my daughter back," he said.

Prior to this reunion, Enriquez had not seen his daughter for more than a month.

According to court documents, about a week after a judge granted him shared custody of Eleriah, he called her mom to pick her up a little bit early, but her phone was disconnected.

"Just never showed up, you know. Never showed up for my days and was missing to everybody," Enriquez said.

That was in early May.

At first, Enriquez and his fiancee did not know where Eleriah was, but they knew she was with her mom.

"You feel lost when it comes to this, and there's no person to go to. You just have to do your own research," he said.

The couple was able to track Eleriah's mom down in Alabama thanks to Facebook.

Then they got the authorities involved.

"Law enforcement here has been wonderful in helping us out," said Enriquez's fiancee, Valerie Collins.

The next stop was Maricopa County Superior Court, where a judge sided with Enriquez.

Armed with a court order, he flew to Birmingham on Tuesday to reunite with his daughter and bring her home.

"She's the reason for my exsistence. She's my everything," Enriquez said.

Enriquez now has temporary sole custody of Eleriah and told 3TV he plans to fight to keep it that way.

"For the first time in 43 days, I heard happiness in his voice, and not worry and stress," Collins said. "There were a lot of tears."