‘Hug your family while you can’: Search for missing boy continues

Police say 2-year-old J’Asiah Mitchell has been missing since Wednesday night.
Police say 2-year-old J’Asiah Mitchell has been missing since Wednesday night.(Family of J’Asiah)
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 11:24 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2023 at 11:18 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The search for 2-year-old J’Asiah Mitchell continued Friday night, as it reached 48 hours since he was reported missing.

Investigators were out draining the lake at the Elite at Lakeview Apartments in East Point. They did not explicitly say why they were focusing their efforts on the lake.

“It’s really hard. It’s really hard,” said Jonathan Wyatt, J’Asiah’s grandfather. He said the little boy is his daughter’s only child.

RELATED: Everything we know about a missing 2-year-old, his father’s arrest in DeKalb County.

He and other family members stood by the water all day Friday, waiting for answers.

“It’s something you don’t want to feel. Nobody wants to feel the way I feel right now,” Wyatt said. “I mean, just hug your family while you can, because you never know.”

Wednesday around 11:30 p.m., the boy’s father, Artavious North, 23, reported J’Asiah was kidnapped near an apartment building in Decatur during an armed robbery.

DeKalb County police said Thursday night that was not true, and the toddler was actually last seen in East Point.

North lives at the Elite at Lakeview Apartments. He was charged with making false statements and filing a false report.

On Saturday, the child’s grandmother spoke to Atlanta News First as family members gathered at the Aspen Woods Apartments in Decatur.

“My daughter, she wants to look for her son. So, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to look wherever she wants to look, wherever she wants to go,” said Leriesa Mitchell, toddler’s grandmother. “Wherever idea she comes up with and thinks that she might need to go check it out, we’re right behind her. The whole family is behind her,” she said.

Mitchell said the family decided to go back to the apartment complex to search.

“We found out that this apartment complex is a place he used to hang out at. He used to bring J’Asiah out here. We’ve talked to numerous of people that live out here that also said that they see my grandson playing with other kids. They’ve seen them out here. So, we want to walk around. We want to see what we can see and find what we can find,” Mitchell said.

“He’s two years old. He can’t fend for himself. It’s real sad,” a neighbor told Atlanta News First.

This neighbor said they lived next door and did not know North had a child.

Mitchell had this message for North on Saturday.

“Please, please I don’t know what the issue may be, or why but all we need is J’Asiah. We don’t want anything else. We don’t want anything more; we just want J’Asiah. Give us J’Asiah and we’ll leave everybody alone,” Mitchell said.

The family said they are not giving up.

“I know I’m bringing my grandson home and I’m going to give him to my daughter so they can hug each other,” Mitchell said. “That’s what’s keeping us going and I’m going to make sure my daughter keeps going,” she said. “Whatever she needs I’m behind her and my family, and prayers from everybody that’s what’s keeping us going. That’s what keeps us going,” Mitchell said.

The family is holding on to hope for a positive outcome.

“I know he’s still alive. I know he’s still alive. We going to walk around and we’re just going to talk until he gets home. As I said, we love him to death, so I want him to see us and let him know we looking for him. So don’t worry about nothing. Don’t be scared because you know we coming,” Mitchell added.

“I really pray he’s found safe, though,” the neighbor said. “Most of all, I pray that baby is found safe.”

Officials on the scene said it would take well after midnight to completely drain the lake.