By Team BLAM
I never cease to be amazed at the numbers of African American children that go missing. Their stories are often untold and their plight unknown. I don’t even recall hearing about this eight ears ago but, thankfully, this little boy was found. Listen in to this family’s story.
Eight years after a baby boy mysteriously disappeared, his alleged kidnapper is behind bars and he could soon reunite with his Houston mother, KTRK-Channel 13 reports.
The child’s caretaker, Krystle Rochelle Tanner, was reportedly arrested on Monday in San Augustine County. She is now being held without bail, KTRK says. The boy was 8 months old when he vanished, CNN reports.
Tanner’s sister called police late Tuesday and told them the boy is with her in Houston, KTRK said; the boy’s mother, Auboni Champion, is now looking forward to his return after so many lost years. Champion called Tanner the godmother for the child, named Miguel. Champion will reportedly undergo a DNA test, but authorities are certain she’s the mother.
“We love him very much and we never gave up. That’s one thing I would never give up,” Champion said.
Champion, who says she now has five other children besides the boy, told CNN on Wednesday that she had asked Tanner, then a high school student, to watch her son overnight in 2004.
“I was having hardship at the time,” the mother said. “I asked her to watch him overnight, and when I came back … they were gone.”
Tanner was reportedly a neighbor.
San Augustine Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham told CNN that Tanner was arrested in connection with the boy’s kidnapping after CPS began investigating her in August. She was reportedly accused of “negligently supervising her children and an unknown 8-year-old child who had been physically abused.”
Tanner allegedly gave the child welfare agency’s investigators contradictory information about the 8-year-old boy, saying the child was hers and then wasn’t hers, that the child belonged to her brother or someone else, Cunningham said.
Cunningham told CNN that CPS called the sheriff’s office, and authorities started investigating in January after they couldn’t find the child.
The child welfare agency then provided sheriff’s investigators with a possible identity of the missing child, and San Augustine County prosecutors secured a warrant for Tanner, Cunningham said.
“We interviewed her again … and she provided additional information,” Cunningham said. “She admitted that she provided misleading information, which certainly supports our belief that she kidnapped the child.”
According to CNN, Houston police closed the abduction case in 2006 after prosecutors weren’t able to get police information clarifying the date the boy vanished. An Amber Alert was never issued, CNN says.
The mother says she never knew the case was closed, CNN says: “She called Houston Police several times to check on the case over the years and was always told she had a new police contact and the case had been assigned to someone else, the mother said.”
Child Protective Services is now reportedly making arrangements to return the boy to his mother. Champion told CNN she could see her child again “by the end of the week.”
HPD told CNN that the department is looking into the case, including why an Amber Alert was never requested.