Parental kidnapping in Jefferson City ends with arrest in Texas

Woman charged with Jefferson City parental kidnapping

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Police said a child is safe after a parental kidnapping in Jefferson City.

The father of the six-year-old boy told police the child's mother, Shanika Myers, took the boy without permission to Texas.

According to Jefferson City Police Sergeant Steve Dappen, "The father went to the hotel where she claimed she was staying. The father checked and she was not registered at the hotel. He waited for several hours at the hotel, and in the meantime kept calling and calling the mother who wouldn't answer her phone."

Myers was found with the child in Texas and police say the child is safe. His dad is now making arrangements to pick up the child.

Investigators say there is no court ordered custody agreement between the child's mother and father. The boy has lived in Jefferson City with his dad his entire life. The father allowed Myers to take the boy out to eat at Chili's Tuesday night, but she failed to return him. 

Myers was charged with felony parental kidnapping because she took him across state lines. 

"This, Jefferson City, was his only living environment. The only home he knew, and yet, mom, out of the blue, decided to come and take him away to Texas. Under parental kidnapping laws, you just can't do that," said Dappen.

The law states that without a court ordered custody agreement, if one parent takes a child away to deliberately deprive the other parent of their custodial rights, it's considered parental kidnapping.

"It's a gray area and we as a police department wish all parents would get court ordered custody agreements. We frequently run across this where police have to be the referees in child custody cases, and it's not good. It's not really our job," said Dappen.

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