The father of a 6-year-old Texas girl who vanished from San Antonio in September 2015 suspects her ex-wife of 34 days is sheltering her.
David Hopper and Kathryn “Katie” Baldwin were married for only 34 days before divorcing. He found out she was pregnant with their daughter, Ava Grace Baldwin, who is now 14 years old, during the divorce procedures.
“I met her at a recovery group called Celebrate Recovery. And she had a great story — come to find out it wasn’t true,” Hopper, who lives in Oklahoma, told Fox News Digital.
They had a rapid relationship, then a modest marriage shortly after meeting, only to divorce just over a month later. Baldwin said she was pregnant during the divorce proceedings, but she claimed Hopper was not the father. A DNA test ordered by the court would show otherwise.
Despite the fact that they were no longer married, the couple began making plans to raise Ava together.
However, when Ava was born, Baldwin relocated to San Antonio and would go missing for days at a time, according to Hopper. Hopper’s sister discovered Baldwin’s MySpace profile and was able to contact her using the once-popular social media network the first time she went missing for days.
A convoluted custody fight erupted between Oklahoma and Texas, then only Texas.
Hopper, who spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal and travel expenses, was granted partial custody of his daughter in May 2013 and full custody in July 2017 – two years after Ava was reported missing. According to Hopper’s sister, Tina Hopper Fullbright, who has collected years of court papers in the hopes of finding Ava safe.
When Ava vanished eight years ago, she was enrolled in a private school in San Antonio.
“The principal contacted me one day and said, ‘Your daughter’s been missing for 21 days,'” Hopper said. That was when he officially reported his daughter missing to authorities on Sept. 17, 2015.
According to him, police went to the address indicated as Ava’s house on her school documents and discovered an empty lot. Hopper claims his ex-wife panicked when he was granted full custody of their kid and fled with her.
“It might be somebody — a parent — that may have a friend that [Ava] goes and sees,” Hopper said of his hope that someone out there knows where Ava might be. “You just never know who that one person is. And we know that there are people who do know something.”
Baldwin’s family members did not respond to Fox News Digital’s inquiry.
“I think Katie thought that we were coming to court with her in October ,” Hopper Fullbright said. “We don’t know if Katie still has Ava. We don’t know if Ava’s been adopted out. We don’t know. We just don’t know. We just believe she’s alive.”
Hopper Fullbright went on to say that she believes Baldwin is using Ava as a “meal ticket.”
“She uses shelters. She uses churches. [Ava]’s her meal ticket.”
The authorities in San Antonio are still looking into Ava’s disappearance. According to SAPD, there are no new developments in the case. According to a missing persons flyer from SAPD, she was last seen on the 6000 block of Whitby Road in San Antonio.