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Man Loses Child After Noting Ad to Prinicpal

March 22, 1985

MILTON, Fla. (AP) _ A newspaper picture of an 11-year-old girl, missing from her mother’s custody for seven months, has landed her father in jail on fugitive charges.

Gracie Poole’s picture was included in a missing children advertisement Tuesday in The Pensacola Journal. Her father, Jimmie Poole, was arrested after he pointed it out to her school principal.

″I didn’t see the paper Tuesday morning,″ said Larry Blackwell, principal of Dixon Elementary School. ″But Mr. Poole came to me and said, ‘Hey, look, my little girl’s in the paper. My wife’s giving me a hard time.’ He wasn’t overreacting. I told him to go to an attorney.″

Blackwell also reported the incident to authorities, as required by state law. Poole was taken into custody as a fugitive from Alabama on charges of interfering with custody and marijuana possession.

″I opened a can of worms on that fellow,″ Blackwell said.

The girl was put in a shelter for children.

Gracie’s mother, Kathleen Nabb of Fairhope, Ala., had told agenies that help find missing children that Poole had taken Gracie seven months ago. As a result, her picture was placed in the advertisement.

Both parents claimed custody in a circuit court hearing Wednesday and Judge Jack Greenhut deferred action until he gets copies of the parents’ custody records.

″I love both my parents,″ the girl said Wednesday. ″I want to stay with them both. I love them both the same.″

The girl said she lived with her mother until age 10 and then, at her request, was allowed to live with her father in Andalusia, Ala.

Poole sent Gracie back to her mother when his job prevented him from caring for her, but allegedly took her back without the mother’s consent.

″God put me and my father together,″ the girl said Wednesday. ″And he’s helped us through everything. Now he’s got to decide what to do.″

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