Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Missing Indy Children Safely Found by Texas Police

By meerna Jul11,2024
Missing Indy Children Safely Found by Texas Police

Austin Hanson and Joe Schroeder

22 hours ago

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Police have canceled a Silver Alert issued last week in connection with the disappearance of three children from Indianapolis after the parents, accused of kidnapping the toddlers and fleeing the state, were caught at a Texas motel.

Three missing children — ages 4, 3 and 1 — were found safe Tuesday in a motel room in Pearsall, Texas, according to a news release from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

The children’s biological parents, 50-year-old Willie Terrell and 31-year-old Jessika Officer (also known as Jessika Terrell), were taken into custody. They face a sixth-degree felony charge of obstructing custody and will be extradited back to Indiana.

“We extend our sincere gratitude to the community for their support, guidance, and information that was critical to the safe recovery of these children,” an IMPD spokesperson said in a prepared statement Wednesday morning.

IMPD and ISP first issued Missing Child Alerts last Friday. Reports indicated officers were actively searching for three young children who reportedly went missing around 12:30 a.m. last Thursday along with their biological parents — Willie and Jessica Terrell.

Court documents filed Tuesday show IMPD officers were called around 1 p.m. July 4 to Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que on Vincennes Road in Indy in reference to a kidnapping. Officers met with the grandfather of three, who said he had custody of the children and agreed through DCS to eat with their biological parents at the restaurant.

However, when the man returned from the restaurant restroom, he said the children and their parents were gone. The man said he obtained custody of the children out of La Porte County in October 2023. The children’s grandfather also claimed that Jessica and Willie took the children from the restaurant in a white minivan.

While investigating the kidnapping, IMPD detectives learned that the children were taken from Willie and Jessica due to medical neglect, as the children were not being properly fed or given their daily medications. All three children have medical conditions and require these medications.

IMPD police reported that the children’s medications were not with their parents, which raised concerns and prompted a frantic search for the children.

Detectives eventually obtained the parents’ phone numbers from DCS and then requested “urgent pings” of the cellphones. While the pings were initially reported in Louisville and Shreveport, Louisiana, police were later informed on July 5 that the numbers were no longer associated with the Terrells.

Then, on Monday, July 8, IMPD received Willie’s exact phone number, which was able to receive a one-time ping at approximately 4:15 a.m. in the Columbus, Texas area. The DCS case manager then told police that he had just spoken to Willie and his therapist in a three-person call.

During the conversation, Willie reportedly told his therapist that the children were “fine” and that they were going to Mexico. The DCS worker, who was briefed by Willie’s therapist, said that the father was 188 miles away from Mexico and that he wanted the FBI to investigate why his children were taken from him.

On Tuesday morning, July 9, Texas authorities helped obtain a signal from Willie’s phone, which placed him in Pearsall, Texas, 101 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Multiple reports indicate that Pearsall police were involved in a standoff over the missing Terrell children Tuesday evening. At approximately 12:20 a.m. Wednesday, ISP canceled the Silver Alert that had been issued for the Terrell children.

On Wednesday, IMPD police confirmed that Texas sheriff’s deputies spotted the Terrells’ white van and tried to stop the family, but the couple fled the scene and then barricaded themselves and their children inside the Rio Frio Motel.

Authorities eventually convinced the Terrells to surrender to police without further incident. The parents were detained and the children were examined by medical personnel.

By meerna

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