A Little Girl Is Reunited with a Hostage—her Doll
updated 04/28/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 04/28/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Enter a softhearted daddy—Harvey Massey, 53, a Ripley, Ohio trucker, who read about Stephanie's plight in the newspaper. "This picture is what did it," he explains, pointing to a photo of a forlorn-looking Stephanie. "That and this quote—'I love you, Mommy, but I love my doll too.' " Himself the father of a 9-year-old daughter, Harvey fretted for three days, then mailed a check for $52 to San Diego Municipal Judge Ronald Mayo, asking that the money be used to buy the doll's freedom. Anxious to get the case off his hands, Mayo paid $8.50 in court fees himself, cashed Massey's check, and sent a bailiff with the money to Russell. Within a matter of hours, Sandy was back in the arms of her owner. "She feels real good," Stephanie sighed happily. "We're going to have a party with all my other dolls, and then we're going to sleep."
Unfortunately, the legal tangle is not yet unsnarled. Dressin, while acknowledging that the case "probably has gotten out of proportion at this point," is pressing on with an appeal. Win or lose, she says, she will reimburse Massey for his $52. Russell worries that the publicity will damage her professional reputation as a licensed day-care provider. "This is too minor to put in the paper," she complains. Judge Mayo agrees, but likes to look on the bright side. "I think it's nice," he says, "that even though we are on the brink of war and we're closer than we've ever been since 1929 to an enormous depression, people still care about a child and her doll."