Missing mom returns

By Ed Brock

With her son by her side Eliza Rios walked into the Clayton County Police Department headquarters and told police she had not been kidnapped.

The police had been looking for 44-year-old Rios of Riverdale since she disappeared from the parking lot of the Food Depot in Riverdale on Saturday, and they had said they did not believe she disappeared on her own.

But, surprising members of the media who had gathered at the police building in Jonesboro for a press conference to get the latest information on her disappearance, 44-year-old Rios walked into the lobby of the building Wednesday afternoon and said she had, in fact, left on her own.

Rios would not comment on where she had been, but did say that she was not injured. She told police little more.

"The only thing she told the detectives was that she met a friend, stayed later than anticipated and was afraid to go home," Clayton County police Capt. Tim Robinson said.

Rios' friend is believed to be the man shown on a Food Depot security camera videotape meeting Rios in the store's parking lot. Robinson said it appears that the friend, who Rios did not identify, was driving Rios' car when they left the parking lot because Rios was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt and the person driving had on a long-sleeve shirt.

Hindering the police's investigation was the fact that the video tape in the parking lot was partially blocked from view by another vehicle.

When Rios left her home on Green Valley Drive to go to the Food Depot she left dinner still cooking in the oven. Robinson said at the time that that fact, plus the fact that she bought something at the store and because the couple had no history of domestic abuse led investigators to believe she had been taken against her will.

Police on Wednesday interviewed Rios for about an hour and when she left she said she was going home. When asked if she was going home to stay, Rios just nodded and said "Yeah."

While she was gone Rios apparently got a license plate for her 1999 Ford Contour that still had a handwritten drive-out tag when she disappeared Saturday. She also went to an ATM twice, once just after midnight Wednesday at a gas station on Old National Highway and again Wednesday morning at a Bank of America machine, Robinson said.

Each time she withdrew $60.