SPARKS, NV - Monday, July 16th, Melanie Scanlan was anxiously waiting for word of her daughter and grandchildren and fearing the worst. She hadn't heard from them in over a week.
She didn't know if they were safe. Most of all she worried about the kids. Were they being fed, cared for?
Today she has 9 month old Lily and 2 year old Michael back in her care, safe and apparently none the worse for their absence.
They had left this home suddenly a week and a half ago with their mother and an unidentified man. Leaving with her children, Vanessa Head told a relative only that she would be back by that evening.
Head had apparently in the days before met a man on the internet dating site Meet Me and, if her postings there are to be believed, was immediately infatuated and anxious to meet up with him.
Days passed with no word. A missing persons report was filed and yesterday Sparks Police got a Secret Witness tip. Melanie got a call and was suddenly talking with her daughter.
"And she said she was in Sacramento. 'Can I come and pick up the kids?' And she said yes."
Melanie left immediately to pick up the them up.
"I asked her, you know 'we're here.' Let's go. She said, 'No. I'm staying.'"
It's not the first time Vanessa Head has left after meeting a man on the internet. The last time ended badly..
"When she came back she was in poor shape. Busted head, busted lip. Big eye," she remembers. "And after that you'd think she'd be more careful, but no."
While she still worries about her daughter, Melanie Scanlan is focused now on giving her grandchildren a safe and stable life.
First steps are to try to get legal custody of the children," she says. "I just count my blessings that I got them back alive and to see my daughter and that she's OK, but it was a big relief."
No charges will be filed. The children show no signs of abuse or neglect and although Vanessa Head suffers from a short term memory disorder, police say she appears to be able to make her own decisions. She left and is staying with the man voluntarily.
Melanie Scanlan has a piece of advice for other parents.
"Watch what they do on the Internet."