The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate an alleged kidnapping of a 4-year-old child in the Lonedell area on Monday.
The missing child was located and returned unharmed, but his mother has been arrested for parental kidnapping, burglary, trespassing and endangering the welfare of a child.
According to a Tuesday morning press release from Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke, deputies at about 11:17 p.m. Monday responded to the 6000 block of Cherokee Drive in the Lake Arrowhead area for the kidnapping of a child.
Upon arrival, deputies contacted the child’s grandmother, who lived at the residence and said she had sole custody of the boy. She stated that she put her grandson to bed in the living room then went into the neighboring bedroom to sleep.
The grandmother said she woke up shortly thereafter to check on her grandson and noticed he was no longer there. She stated she saw the front door to her residence open, and she ran toward the door.
As she exited the residence, Toelke said the grandmother noticed two individuals wearing black hoodies running from her residence toward Cherokee Drive and Oak Grove Church Road.
She said one of the people was carrying her grandson wrapped in a blanket. The grandmother stated the individuals entered a dark-colored passenger car with no license plates and drove away.
During subsequent interviews, Toelke said deputies learned that one of the suspects might be the biological mother of the child. Family members and associates of the biological mother reportedly lived in neighboring Jefferson County. The sheriff said it was believed that the biological mother may be staying with her father in Jefferson County.
Franklin and Jefferson County deputies continued investigating the incident and began contacting associates of the biological mother.
Upon arrival at the residence of the mother’s father in Jefferson County, Toelke said the man refused to come to the door.
Toelke said deputies may have determined there was a warrant for the man’s arrest, possibly for operation of a methamphetamine lab. That information was not confirmed.
As the investigation continued, Jefferson County deputies later received a call from the 4-year-old’s biological mother stating she had the child. She said she would meet law enforcement at a location in Jefferson County.
Some time later, the woman did arrive at the location but did not have the child.
Toelke said Jefferson County deputies continued to contact associates of the biological mother and eventually located the child unharmed at a residence in that county.
He was returned to his grandmother.
The mother was arrested for parental kidnapping, first-degree burglary, first-degree trespassing and endangering the welfare of a child.
Toelke said names were withheld pending application of the warrant.
He said the biological mother admitted she had been planning to take the child for four months.
She is identified as a white female, age 21, and living in the Robertsville and House Springs areas.
Further investigation is being conducted.