A ten-year-old Texas girl at the center of the #StandWithSophie campaign is missing and is feared to have been abducted by her father after she accused her mother’s fiancé of sexually abusing her.
Sophie Long was last seen on July 12 and is believed to be with her father Michael Long, who does not have custody of the child, in a case which police are describing as a ‘family abduction’.
Michael, 42, is believed to be driving a white 2010 Ford Edge SUV or a gray van with blacked out windows, officials in Texas said.
He had arrived at a court custody hearing alone without Sophie and she has not been seen since July 12, according to the Guadalupe Sherrif’s Department.
Sophie was at the centre of a case that went viral after she was seen screaming for help in a video.
The viral video, which was filmed at a custody handover on August 14 last year, shows Sophie desperately clinging to the seats of her father’s car and accusing her mother’s fiancé who the children call Mr. Jake, of sexual abuse.
Sophie Long was last seen on July 12 and is believed to be with her father Michael Long, who does not have custody of the child, in a case which police are describing as a ‘family abduction’
Michael, 42, is believed to be driving a white 2010 Ford Edge SUV or a gray van with blacked out windows, officials in Texas said
Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement: ‘Missing juvenile is believed to be with her non-custodial parent, Michael Long, and may be en route to Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Mexico or Argentina.
‘Michael Long is possibly driving an off white 2010 Ford Edge SUV or a gray van with blacked out windows, a NRA sticker and a black rack on top. Missing juvenile has a small burn mark on one of her arms.’
Her mother Kelly Long told DailyMail.com in September last year that the situation is ‘heartbreaking and terrifying’.
Kelly, of Frisco, Texas, is seen in the video along with her mother Kim Mitton, who was filmed pulling at Sophie’s ankles before getting into the vehicle in an ultimately abortive attempt to get her to come.
After Michael posted the footage online, it sparked a campaign called #StandWithSophie and he raised $200,000 to pay his legal bills via a GoFundMe page.
Kelly, who said she has been subjected to hundreds of abusive emails and death threats since the video went viral, said at the time she was desperate to get her children back.
In September last year a judge granted Kelly custody of Sophie and her two younger brothers, allowing Michael visitation rights.
Her mother Kelly Long told DailyMail.com in September last year that the situation is ‘heartbreaking and terrifying’. She’s seen in a clip from a wellness check that was conducted last year
Sophie, from Texas, has sparked the #StandWithSophie campaign after she was seen a viral video posted by her biological father Michael (above with Sophie) claiming her mother’s fiancé sexually assaults her
She released a statement exclusively to DailyMail.com in which she said last year’s events have been ‘heartbreaking, terrifying and beyond comprehension’.
Kelly also said at the time she has been reluctant to discuss Sophie’s claims and the custody battle because she wants to protect all three children.
The mom-of-three said: ‘I have been hesitant to speak out because as a concerned mother, my foremost priority is to protect the safety and dignity of all of my children, including Sophie.
‘This entire situation has been heartbreaking, terrifying and beyond comprehension.’
She added: ‘I am just putting one foot in front of the other and will do everything I can to protect, shield and help all three of my children somehow process the trauma they are experiencing.
‘I can’t wait to hold my babies in my arms again.’
Sources close to Kelly told DailyMail.com that she strongly disputes the claims Sophie has been sexually abused while in her care and believes she was coached to say so by Michael.
Kelly says she has received hundreds of abusive emails and death threats since the video went viral and says she is desperate to get her children back
Kelly was seen in the now-viral video attempting to pull daughter Sophie out of the car during a custody exchange in August last year
Sophie is seen telling her grandmother Kim Mitton, who is her biological mother’s mother, of abuse during a custody exchange. She is seen screaming and crying as she refuses to go with her grandmother
Outside court of a court hearing last month, a handful of protesters waved signs and demonstrated their support for Sophie – calling for her to be returned to her father immediately
The 34-year-old has also instructed a team of lawyers to issue a fraud alert on the #StandWithSophie GoFundMe page and is trying to have all materials related to the campaign removed.
In a statement issued to DailyMail.com, her attorneys said they believe the page ‘intentionally misleads the public with false claims and has sparked dangerous calls for violence’.
A spokesman for Kelly added: ‘We have alerted the authorities and attorneys are doing everything they can to warn the public about the false nature of these claims.
‘Michael Long’s personal vendetta against his ex-wife has now escalated to dangerous levels.’
Kelly and Michael have been battling it out over the custody of their three children since they divorced in 2015.
He claims the split was due to infidelity and emotional abuse on her part: she claims he was an abusive husband.
Sources close to Kelly say that she strongly disputes the claims Sophie has been sexually abused and believes she was coached to say so by Michael
Kelly was initially awarded sole custody of the children. Michael told DailyMail.com in an interview in September last year that he chose to leave them with her because she kept the marital home and he wanted them to have stability.
He says he had personal issues to deal with in the wake of the divorce and moved to Gilbert, Arizona, for eight months where he met his now wife Kourtney Chalmers, 34.
In September last year a judge granted Kelly custody of the children, allowing Michael visitation rights.
Both he and Kourtney say Sophie has made several outcries about sexual abuse in their mother’s home to them and has repeated her claims in forensic interviews.
They say the child is too scared of her mother to speak about the alleged abuse in front of her and say her two brothers have also been subject to a campaign of terror at the hands of their mother and her fiancé.
Kelly said all of this is a lie and said her ex-husband has a history of making false claims about her – pointing to previous incidents in 2016 and 2017.
Sophie and her two younger brothers are in the center of a bitter custody battle in Frisco, Texas, between her parents Michael and Kelly. They are now in the care of their father until trial in November
Sophie’s father and stepmother are pictured. They say they’ve spent $30,000 fighting to get custody of Sophie and have now decided to go public and have raised $200,000 on GoFundMe
A source close to the family said: ‘Multiple medical providers, including a pediatrician, hospitals, and the Department of Child Protective Services (CPS) have all ruled numerous times, after multiple medical examinations, that there is no evidence of any sexual abuse or neglect, nor evidence to support other outrageous claims made by Michael.’
The source added: ‘Sophie, and her brothers have all undergone extensive interviews with forensic psychologists, under the direction of CPS.
‘During all interviews with these professionals, Sophie has never expressed an outcry.
‘She has apparently only done so when coached by her father Michael Long and stepmother Kourtney Chalmers during self-produced videos.’
Family sources also accused Michael of sending Kelly ‘cryptic threats’ and ‘rambling’ text messages and claim he shows ‘an unstable pattern of behavior over the past several years’.
The source added: ‘During his marriage to Kelly Long, he was psychologically abusive which served as a primary reason for their divorce.’
But Kourtney and Michael both say they have good reason to believe the children are being abused and cannot understand why CPS keeps returning them to their mother.
A private Facebook group called Stand With Sophie has over 120,000 members who are raising awareness about Sophie’s case
Sophie’s father Michael and his wife Kourtney previously sat down with DailyMail.com for an exclusive interview where they say they are wracked with guilt over the alleged abuse
Speaking to DailyMail.com, Kourtney said: ‘It’s really, really hard. There’s a lot of guilt – you try to think if there was a sign you could have seen sooner, if they were trying to tell you in some other way.
‘It felt just awful [to hear what she said] and you feel disgusted all the time, especially with everybody telling you right and left that it shouldn’t be this hard to remove a child from an abusive situation.
‘I just don’t understand why everybody just keeps throwing them back to the wolves.’