The father of a girl who disappeared from primary school seven years ago claims her mother – to whom he was married for 34 days – is hiding their daughter.
Ava Grace Baldwin, now 14, disappeared when she was six years old, and David Hopper believes his ‘perfect little girl’ may not even know she is listed as missing.
Hopper, who lived in Oklahoma, received a call from his daughter’s school in September 2015 that Ava had not been in class for 21 days, and they asked if he had any idea where the child might be.
At the time, Ava was living with her mother, David’s ex-wife Kathryn Baldwin, in San Antonio, Texas.
Police believe the mother took Ava after discovering their home address led to an empty lot.
Ava and her mother Kathryn Baldwin, who her father thinks took her away
David Hopper (pictured with Ava as a child) thinks his ‘perfect little girl’ may not even know she’s been classified as missing
Kathryn’s Ford Escape was found abandoned in a park in April 2016, seven months after she and the child disappeared.
Baldwin and Hopper had been married for just over a month and the father had spent $45,000 fighting for a custody arrangement in court when their daughter was born.
Despite CPS catching Kathryn in a solo sex act while Ava, then two, lay behind her in bed, David was ultimately only granted partial custody.
He would drive hours to pick her up for the summer holidays – and he enjoyed fond memories with his daughter.
Tina Fullbright, Ava’s aunt, said of Kathryn, “She would just jump counties.” She would get into trouble in one province and just move to another province.” Police say records show Kathryn uses nearly a dozen aliases.
Fullbright said of her brother David, “It’s hard to see my brother go through this. This is his only child. That’s all he’s ever wanted: a family, and he deserves to have his daughter in his life.”
Kathryn, who has a criminal warrant for interfering with child custody, also has a history of alcohol and drug abuse.
When Hopper filed for full custody, Kathryn and Ava disappeared in 2015.
Hopper, who is trying to find his daughter, told NewsNation, “When we sent police to the location of the last address we had, it turned out to be an empty lot.
“And then we thought: something is going on here.”
He has since been given full custody of Ava, but police have no idea where she is. They are investigating the case as a non-custodial parent kidnapping.
David Hopper is still trying to be reunited with his daughter Ava
Ava Grace Baldwin, now 14, went missing when she was six years old, and David Hopper believes his ‘perfect little girl’ may not even know she’s listed as missing
He added: “There is reason to believe Ava is still alive. There is a case in Florida where we know the couple she tried to give Ava to. They contacted us, and that was in 2016.”
After internet sleuths thought they came across Kathryn and Ava on TikTok, the case has been revived in the public eye – as David continues to post letters to his daughter on Facebook in the hope she will one day see them.
Hopper told NewsNation, “You’re asking me if she’s still alive.
“Sometimes I have my doubts, I will be honest with you, but if you ask me, I will answer with confidence because I believe that God is faithful to his word.
‘That he said he would watch over her, that he would protect her, that he would keep her safe.
“And that one day he would bring her home.”