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Minnesota father reunited with daughter believed missing in Monroe County

WKRN/WATE staff - NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE/WKRN) – A Minnesota father's search for his 6-year-old daughter in Tennessee has come to an end.

Brian Cooney, who's from Perham, Minnesota, was given temporary custody of his daughter, Claire. But he had not seen her in over a month.

RELATED: Minnesota dad searches for daughter in Middle Tennessee

She was spotted on March 2 at Becky's Thrift Store in Centerville. According to the store owner, Claire was with her mother, Miranda Cooney, and her mother's boyfriend, who is a wanted felon.

The store owner called police because the group looked suspicious.

Cooney hired a private investigator to help in the case.

Claire was ultimately found in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, by Scott Williams. Scott owns William's Deli in Tellico Plains. He said he was taking a quick trip there for gas and good. Along the way, he spotted something weird.

"When I see somebody that I do not recognize, they stand out," said Williams.

At his own deli, flyers are pinned to the wall to help find Claire Cooney. She's the talk in his store so William's coworkers asked if he had seen her. Then, it dawned on him.

"When I got back here and they told me that, I said yeah, I just saw them," he said.

He frantically jumped back in his car to see if he could fine Claire Cooney again on the highway. It didn't take long before he did find her. He quickly called police.

"Really just wanted to make sure that they were going to be found," said Williams.

He pointed law enforcement in the right direction and he found the mom, the mother's boyfriend and Claire Cooney at Tater's Feed in Tellico Plains. Police took the mother's boyfriend into custody. He is now being held in the Monroe County Jail, and Miranda was served a protection order.Brian will fly down to Nashville Monday to reunite with his daughter.

"That was great," said Williams. "That was the outcome I was looking for."

Brian Cooney and Claire's mother are set to appear in court this week to talk about custody of the little girl.


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