Children taken from mother’s home by their aunt
By Patrick Yost
Three children were returned to their mother Tuesday after Morgan County authorities tracked the children's aunt and her girlfriend to a Sandersville residence.
According to Capt. Chris Bish, Investigation Division, Morgan County Sheriff's Office, deputies were notified that the children were missing by their mother initially on Oct. 29. Bish said the mother reported that she had left the children, ages 1, 2 and 4, in the care of her sister Helena Martin, 21, Rutledge, and Martin's 16-year-old girlfriend at the mother's Weaver Jones Road.
The mother reported that when she arrived home from work at midnight, Bish said, the children and Martin and the juvenile were gone. Bish said the mother made several attempts to contact Martin. Martin relayed via Facebook several addresses where she had taken the children but all addresses led to either non-existent residences or to closed businesses. On Tuesday morning the mother told authorities that she had driven to several false Baldwin County addresses she had been given by her sister.
Bish said investigators on Tuesday were able to communicate with Martin on Facebook and eventually tracked Martin, the juvenile and the three children to a Sandersville address. Washington County authorities, based on information relayed by Morgan County investigators, arrested Martin and the juvenile at approximately noon on Tuesday without incident and held the children until they were placed in the mother's care.
Martin was charged with one felony count of interference with custody and remains incarcerated in the Morgan County Detention Center. Authorities filed a juvenile complaint against the 16-year-old female for interference with child custody. She remains incarcerated at the Sandersville Youth Detention Center until a Nov. 14 hearing on the charges.
Bish said he was not sure why Martin and the juvenile left with the children. "We don't really know a motive. Our total concern was the welfare of the children. That's why we did what we did."
"Their lives are important to us. When you kidnap a child it rises to the level that it did. That's why these two people are behind bars."
Printed in the November 8, 2012 edition