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Search Continues For 5-Month-Old Abducted In Stolen Car After His Twin Brother Was Found Abandoned In Airport Parking Lot
Columbus police said suspect Nalah Jackson, 24, was last seen on camera dropping off one twin, Kyair Thomas, in a parking lot at the Dayton International Airport early Tuesday morning.
The search for a missing 5-month-old twin is now in its second day, as Ohio police have issued an Amber Alert and continue to look for the missing boy, suspect and stolen vehicle.
Columbus police allege Nalah Jackson, 24, stole the 2010 Honda Accord containing Kason and his twin Kyair Thomas from a Donato’s Pizza parking lot along North High Street at 9:45 p.m. Monday. At 4:15 a.m. Tuesday, police said only Kyair was found safe in the cold in the economy parking lot at the Dayton International Airport, about an hour southwest of Columbus. Police did not share information about his condition.
“Why drop off one baby at an airport at night in 18-degree weather,” LaFonda Thomas, the babies’ grandmother, told Cleveland ABC station WEWS. “Leave him outside to die? Why?”
Columbus police are also concerned only one twin was found.
“I think that’s a troubling aspect to this case,” Columbus Deputy Chief Smith Weir said during a press conference on Tuesday. “It’s perplexing, like why would that be. Obviously, we can all let our imaginations run wild, but we have to deal with what the facts are, and the facts are we’re still looking for one child.”
The four-door black vehicle is missing the front bumper, has tinted windows, and a ripped temporary tag that starts with the letter “M,” police said. They added the car has damage and purple paint transfer on the left side. The stolen vehicle also has a “West Side City Toys” bumper sticker. Jackson is described as being 5 feet, 7 inches tall, having black hair and brown eyes and weighing 159 pounds. Kason was last seen wearing a brown onesie.
“Nalah Jackson, I plead to you, please return Kason Thomas,” Elaine Bryant, chief of the Columbus Division of Police, said during the press conference. “Thank you for returning Kyair. You’ve already showed us you can do the right thing. Return him to any safe location—fire station, hospital, shopping center, any public place where someone will find the baby. I’m begging you to please return Kason. Bringing him home safe is our number one priority.”
Police said Jackson, who is from Columbus, does have a criminal history and several arrests with their department. WEWS reports court records show Jackson was previously arrested twice for child endangerment, custody interference, domestic violence, assault, and other misdemeanors.
“Yes, in all fairness, we consider this child to be in danger,” Weir said.
Police said there is no indication Jackson knew the mother or the children previously.
“We’re concerned, obviously she took two 5-month-olds—we’re concerned, and we want to make sure we put that out there that even for her, we’re concerned for her,” Bryant said. “Please return the baby, allow us to have communication with you.”
The mother of the twins left her car running while she got a DoorDash order, police said, and it was stolen with the babies inside. Employees at Donato’s positively identified Nalah Jackson, a homeless woman, and told police she was in the restaurant and left as the mother walked in. Within minutes, Columbus police say dozens of officers searched the area on foot, and in the air, with the Columbus police helicopter. Forty-five minutes after the kidnapping was reported, nearby police departments and their officers joined the search.
“Sometimes we got to take a step back and realize that being a parent means making tough choices,” LaFonda Thomas said to WEWS. “It should never be an easy choice to leave your children in a running car with unlocked doors. Please, please, please think before you act—you do not want to be where we are sitting right now.”
At 11:45 p.m., the Columbus police chief said her department requested an Amber Alert from Ohio State patrol, and notified them of the request a second time at 12:05 a.m. The Amber Alert was issued for the entire state of Ohio at 1:37 a.m.
Columbus police faced several questions during the press conference about the four-hour lag between the children being reported missing, and the Amber Alert being issued.
Weir said the stolen vehicle didn’t have a license plate, and the mother had just purchased the vehicle, so it made it more difficult to identify the vehicle. Weir said there was back and forth with Ohio State patrol about the requirements for the Amber Alert.
“Obviously, it’s a unique circumstance when there’s no license plate,” Weir said during the press conference. “Additionally, we were trying to identify the VIN number of the vehicle, so there were some obstacles we had to go through with that.”
The babies’ grandmother talked to WEWS about her concerns with the police investigation, and the delay in getting an Amber Alert out.
“I would say I understand her concerns, and obviously in a perfect world we would love to have had it out a little earlier, but our officers did the best they could dealing with a chaotic scene,” Weir said during the press conference. “Obviously our investigators considered it a top priority to get the Amber Alert out.”
Columbus police said they were notified late Tuesday morning that Jackson was caught on video overnight at a business in Huber Heights—a suburb of Dayton—but the last known sighting of her is on cameras around 4:15 a.m. Tuesday as she dropped Kyair Thomas off at the Dayton International Airport.
"My grandson has been missing over 12 hours,” Thomas told WEWS. “No food, and he’s a baby. He loves his parents. How is he being treated? What is she doing? I don’t know. Not knowing is killing my whole family right now.”
Police are working with departments in the Dayton area to find Jackson and the missing child.
“To the family, the Columbus Division of Police is doing everything we can to find Kason,” Bryant said. “We’re following every lead and tracking down every moment from the time these babies went missing.”
Police do not know if Jackson is still driving the car, or if she’s left the state. “Be On The Lookout,” or BOLO, alerts were issued Wednesday afternoon to the five states surrounding Ohio--Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania-- in the search for Jackson, 5-month-old Kason Thomas, and the stolen vehicle.
If you have any information that can help, Columbus police ask you to call 614-645-4701.
“Just bring my grandson back,” Thomas told WEWS. “We need him. His brother is not complete without him.”