FAIR GROVE, Mo. -- Connie Nickum is thankful she has her friend and pastor, Liz Anderson, to lean on these days as she comes to terms with her latest blow. Nickum's daughter, Cynthia Brown, is behind bars and charged with stealing a car with two kids in the back seat -- a 4-year-old boy and his 1-year-old sister, Harmony Blue.
Nickum said her daughter's life spun out of control because of poor choices: "drinking and drugging."
Her daughter, Nickum said, started having drug problems in 2002, but the mother also remembers a time when it seemed as if Brown had cleaned up.
"Cindy was a Sunday school teacher, going to church three times a week, sometimes four," said Nickum. "And her husband was deacon at the church, and they were both doing so good, so good."
But it didn't last. In fact, it got worse. Nickum said drugs were to blame, again.
"They found her in Founder's Park, not responding, and they had to bring her back."
That was in 2011. Brown survived, but Nickum said her daughter couldn't turn her life around again.
On March 2, 2013, police said Brown stole a car that was parked with the keys inside at a shopping center on Commercial Street at National Avenue in Springfield.
"(She) said that she didn't know that the kids were in the car when she got the car. She don't even know why she got the car, and I think it was, myself, to show off in front of her husband and them," said Nickum.
The boy was dropped off in a neighborhood; Brown continued driving with Harmony Blue in the car. A short time later, Brown abandoned the vehicle in a parking lot on Mount Vernon Street and left Harmony inside the vehicle, according to court documents.
An Amber Alert was issued. Some seven hours later, Harmony was found safe and sound in the back seat of the stolen car.
While Nickum grapples with her daughter's problems, she's also taking care of two of Brown's kids.
"She tells me in my letters that she can never be a mom. She's tried so hard, she says, 'I broke promises to them.' And you know that hurts, that hurts me," said Nickum.
Brown is facing several charges including endangering the welfare of a child.
Though Nickum is bereft, she said she will stand by Brown.
"She is my daughter. I still love her with all my heart."
Officers said they received an anonymous tip on May 23 that led them to Brown who was in the Greene County jail on unrelated charges.
KY3 News tried to find Harmony Blue's parents for a comment, but when we went to their last known address, the home was empty.