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A Pennsylvania woman, who police suspected had possibly been abducted and held against her will by her father-in-law, was arrested for methamphetamine possession.
Alicia Brumbaugh, 31, was found safe, along with her two children on Tuesday, November 12, after state troopers conducted a short-lived but frenzied search for the mother, who had allegedly phoned a family member on Monday evening from a Walmart and instructed them to call police. Their conversation had been cut short, officials said, and the phone that the call originated from was then supposedly turned off.
“The family was in significant fear for the safety of the children, as well as Alicia Brumbaugh,” an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com stated.
Police, who initially suspected that Brumbaugh was “being held against her will,” along with her two children, Aleah Nicole Rose Brumbaugh, 2 and Maverick Lee Brumbaugh, 1, by her father-in-law, Edgar Lee Decker Jr.
Decker Jr., a known drug user, police learned, had recently fled a rehabilitation center and was wanted in a neighboring county on a felony warrant for retail theft. State authorities quickly initiated an urgent search in response.
“We were more concerned because Mr. Decker was actually the subject of a felony arrest warrant,” state trooper Clifford Greenfield told Oxygen.com. “Since we knew that and we knew that some problem was occurring, and she requested that the police be called — but she was not able to call herself — there was a significant degree of concern for her welfare and the welfare of her two children that were with her.”
Police responded to the Walmart in Indiana County where they suspected Brumbaugh had placed the call from but couldn’t immediately locate the woman and her father-in-law.
But around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, police received a tip from a motorist who supposedly spotted the family’s black 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche headed eastbound on Route 422. Greenfield, who said state troopers were in the neighboring vicinity, quickly located the SUV. Inside they found Brumbaugh, her children, and Decker Jr.
Decker Jr. was arrested on past felony theft charges. Brumbaugh and her children were then transported to a state police station for questioning. During a police interview, Greenfield said Brumbaugh “did not provide evidence to us that she was being held against her will.”
Brumbaugh then consented to a search of her SUV, police said. Inside, investigators allegedly found a small quantity of suspected methamphetamine in her purse.
The 31-year-old Pennsylvania mother was subsequently charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of children and possession of a controlled substance, as well as drug paraphernalia.
“When we discovered that [children] were in the vehicle which also contained what we believed to be methamphetamine, at that point, the protection of the children is our primary concern,” Greenfield added.
The police spokesperson noted that there’s been an uptick of fatal opioid-related drug overdoses in Indiana County.
“[It’s] caused significant trauma to families,” Greenfield explained. “Certainly if any children are in a situation where they’re being exposed to that, we want to know about it and do our best to ensure their welfare is protected.”
Authorities said it’s still unclear why Brumbaugh allegedly initially phoned her family member and requested her to call police.
Following her arrest, Brumbaugh’s children were released to their father, officials said.
Brumbaugh is being held on $10,000 bond at an Indiana County jail, according to online court records. She was arraigned on Tuesday. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26.
Her father-in-law, Decker Jr., was also arraigned on past theft charges and is due back in court on Nov. 20 for a preliminary hearing. He’s being held on a $20,000 bond.
The 56-year-old has pleaded guilty to past theft and drunk driving charges in Bedford County, according to separate court documents.
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