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Missing girl believed abducted by mother; Father hasn't seen 7-year-old since Dec. 12


Gary R. Barton clutched a picture of his missing 7-year-old daughter, Dakota Rae, yesterday as he stood outside the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

The Frederick County second-grader disappeared Dec. 22, and investigators believe that she has been abducted by her mother, Nola Rae Barton, 37. The Frederick woman is wanted by Harford County and federal authorities on a felony warrant charging her with detaining a child out of state.

Yesterday, Gary Barton -- the woman's ex-husband -- said he was worried about the welfare of his daughter. He was recently awarded custody of the girl by the Harford County Circuit Court.

"I don't want her living in a shelter, in a car or on the streets," said Barton, a Bel Air resident. Detective Tom Walsh, a spokesman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office, said deputies and agents of the FBI have in the past month tracked the girl's mother to Parkville, in Baltimore County, and to Chicago, New York City, Connecticut and Florida.

Nola Rae Barton is described as white, 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 210 pounds. Police said she was last seen driving a blue/silver Toyota Tercel with Maryland license plate EMS 530.

"There is information that she may be trying to cross over the border into Canada," Walsh said. "Anytime a child has not been attending school for over a month, we consider it a neglectful situation, so every effort is being made to find the child."

Gary Barton said he and his ex-wife have long battled for custody of their daughter. He was awarded custody Dec. 16. His daughter was to have arrived at the home he shares with his current wife, Missy Barton, on Dec. 22 for a five-day stay and return permanently Jan. 3, Barton said.

"By Dec. 16, she had already missed 20 days of school," Barton said. "I just want her mother to send her home."

Yesterday, Barton displayed a picture of his daughter taken as she sat on Santa's lap Dec. 12 -- the last day he saw her. Missy Barton said the couple is eager to have the little girl home.

Dakota is described as 3 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 50 pounds, with blue eyes, brown, shoulder-length hair and pierced ears. Anyone with information is asked to call the Harford County Sheriff's Office at 410-838-6600, 410-836-5437 or 410-879-7929.

Pub Date: 1/28/99

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