Kidnapped toddler is reunited with her mother

Associated Press WriterCHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A 16-month-old girl who was snatched from a Chicago bus station by a stranger on Christmas Eve was reunited with her mother on Friday.

Marcella Anderson arrived at Yeager Airport from Chicago aboard an FBI jet and got off the plane carrying a teddy bear for her daughter, Jasmine. The reunion took place in private.

The little girl was found apparently unharmed on Thursday in West Virginia, and the woman accused of kidnapping her and pretending the child was her own was arrested on a tip from her boyfriend's mother.

Matthews was arrested on a tip from her boyfriend's mother.

Appearing before a U.S. magistrate Friday morning, Matthews sat quietly through the hearing, repeatedly rubbing her forehead. When Magistrate Mary Stanley asked her if she had any mental or physical illnesses that would prevent her from understanding the proceedings, she did not understand the question until her court-appointed attorney explained.

Stanley told her she was charged with a serious felony and could spend years in jail and asked if she understood. Matthews, who gave her age as 35, indicated she did.

Stanley placed her into the custody of U.S. Marshals.

A nationwide search led authorities to a home in Williamson, where Matthews took Jasmine after snatching her from her mother, the FBI said.

Although an FBI agent earlier had said Matthews was not holding the girl when officers broke into the home, Trooper S.T. Harper said she was. As soon as the officers went into the home the child was smiling.

"She was in great spirits. I've never seen a child that good. She never cried. She smiled and I held her in my arms. It's amazing," Harper said.

FBI Special Agent Jim Wise said Matthews' reaction was "disbelief, surprise, denial."

The girl was taken to the Williamson police station while police contacted child protective services workers.

"She was just a little girl who was bewildered, didn't know what was going on," said Williamson Police Chief Roby Pope Jr. A dispatcher played with her.

"It's like a belated Christmas present. Finding this little girl alive is thrilling," Pope said.

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