RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — It was the reunion everyone hoped for.
With family standing by, 21-year-old Kamilah Fipps grinned ear to ear as her mother hugged her near Richmond’s Battery Park Wednesday afternoon.
Six days after Fipps vanished from her Mississippi college dorm at Jackson State University (JSU), the young woman was found safe 810 miles away in Richmond, Virginia after a week-long search involving family members from across the country.
“Something is wrong. Something is wrong,” said Vicky Fipps, Kamilah’s mother, mere hours before her daughter was discovered. “It has been overwhelming. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep,” she said.
Kamilah’s aunt told 8News it was a Richmond police detective who alerted the desperate family where their loved one was. Kamilah was apparently sitting on a park bench around 2 p.m., wearing the same tie-dye sweatshirt she was last seen in.
A statement from Kamilah’s mother said the pair “embraced for a long time stating how much they loved each other.”
A mother’s love, clear from an exhaustive search.
Vicky’s Facebook post last week asking for help to find Kamilah got 41,000 shares but was removed after she was found safe. She said she acted like a detective, tracking Kamilah from her dorm to a Greyhound bus 800 miles north.
Both JSU and Mississippi authorities issued alerts to find Fipps.
Vicky used bank account purchases to help track down surveillance photos at a nearby CVS on Broad Street, a Wawa convenience store on Arthur Ashe Boulevard and a Gelati Celesti shop.
The family declined an interview Wednesday night, and it remains unknown why Kamilah left Mississippi, why she traveled to Richmond –where her family said she has no connections– and why she ended up in Battery Park.
But Vicky made good on a promise, “I’m not coming home without my daughter,” she said.
Fipps’ father reportedly traveled to Richmond from Arizona, two cousins came from Chicago, and Vicky and another cousin traveled from Milwaukee.
Kamilah’s aunt said the family is actively booking flights back home, and they are thankful for 8News, Richmond police and the authorities in Mississippi for contributing to the search.