Indianapolis Police have declined to provide specifics, but the assistance of two women was vital in finding a five-month-old baby missing for days out of Columbus, Ohio.
According to The Indianapolis Star, Kason Thomas and his twin brother, Kyair Thomas, went missing last Monday, Dec. 19, when a woman took their mother’s running Honda Accord with them still in the back seat. Kyair was found the following morning between two vehicles at around 4:15 a.m. — still in his car seat, wrapped with a quilt — in a Dayton International Airport parking lot.
Following an unexpected encounter, Indianapolis resident Shyann Delmar and her cousin, Mecka Curry, both 27, were able to help police find baby Kason on Thursday.
Delmar claimed she bought toys from a lady who identified herself as “Mae” last Tuesday while at a gas station in Indianapolis. She subsequently consented to drive the woman to a local Family Dollar store.
Delmar later showed Curry a video she had taken of the woman, and the two realized she resembled Columbus kidnapping suspect Nalah T. Jackson. Delmar went on Facebook and matched the pictures from her phone with the mugshot of Jackson. Despite the similarities, she said she was hesitant to draw any firm conclusions.
“I wanted just to verify it before I got her locked up,” Delmar said, according to The IndyStar.
Delmar and the woman had swapped phone numbers, and on Wednesday, “Mae” called her to discuss buying more items. Curry accompanied Delmar to the meeting place on Thursday since, by then, they were sure the videotaped woman was the suspect from the news.
The cousins devised a plan to turn “Mae” over to the police Thursday, choosing to take her to a store to have her arrested there so they couldn’t be identified as the ones responsible for her apprehension. The pair first contacted Columbus Police, who directed them to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Curry and Delmar had difficulty explaining on the phone to area police that they thought Jackson was in their car. After hanging up in frustration, they took her to several establishments hoping she would shoplift and attract police attention.
While out shopping, Curry called investigators to provide all the information she had learned from her cousin concerning their suspicion that “Mae” was the potential kidnapper.
Curry claimed that, at one point, police called while they were in the vehicle. To avoid tipping off the suspected kidnapper, she pretended to be speaking to a friend and said they were traveling south on I-65. Police found the women’s vehicle on the road, conducted a traffic stop and, at first skeptical, suggested Jackson be taken to a shelter.
But according to Curry, after comparing the now-quiet woman in the car to a screenshot of Jackson’s mugshot, the police officer indeed noticed a resemblance to the Columbus photo in circulation and arrested her.
“SHE IS IN CUSTODY AND THE BABY IS NOT FOUND,” Curry wrote on Facebook, The IndyStar reported, nearly two hours before police reported Jackson’s arrest.
Columbus detectives praised the cousins’ actions that resulted in the traffic stop. “You guys did fantastic,” one of them told Curry via email on Thursday, the IndyStar said. “Because of your help we are so much closer to finding that baby.”
The cousins turned their attention to finding baby Kason, deciding to trace the path on a bus schedule that “Mae” had left behind. They eventually located the missing Honda Accord in a snow-covered parking lot of a Papa John’s and saw the baby’s legs and face in the rearview mirror.
Indianapolis Police announced via Twitter at 9:24 p.m. Thursday the child was found, the IndyStar reported. Delmar can be seen in the background of an accompanying photo.
According to The IndyStar, Police Sgt. Shawn Anderson has been in law enforcement for 23 years and with the Indianapolis authorities for 19. He said finding the missing Thomas baby with colleague Sgt. Richard El was one of his most rewarding experiences.
“When we were alerted to where baby Kason was, and was able to actually lay eyes on him, I felt like a miracle had happened,” said Anderson.
“Holding baby Kason was like holding one of my own children,” he added. “It was that meaningful for me.”
The police partners wouldn’t have made their arrest without the two cousins and their detective-like instincts.
“At that point, we didn’t believe we really did this,” Curry said, The IndyStar reported. “We really did the unthinkable.”
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