An 18-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man were arrested this week after they allegedly agreed to babysit two Florida toddlers overnight, then took the mother’s car and, without permission, drove the kids 1,000 miles to Wisconsin, where they abandoned them in a public park. They were found unharmed.
Adalyn Jean Burkett and Marquan L. Edwards were taken into custody Monday and charged with the alleged abduction, authorities announced.
Burkett faces one count of interference with child custody and one count of grand theft of an automobile. Edwards is charged with one count of principal to interference with child custody.
According to a press release from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the incident came to light on June 24, 2023, when the mother of the children contacted sheriff’s deputies to report that Burkett, whom the mother “believed to be a friend,” had allegedly taken her two children, 1 and 2, out of state without her knowledge or consent. The mother further claimed that Burkett had also taken her vehicle.
In an interview with law enforcement, the mother said she spent the previous night with Burkett. During that time, she said Burkett agreed to babysit her two children the following night. The mother also permitted Burkett to use her vehicle with the understanding that it would be returned on the morning of June 24
However, when the mother attempted to reach Burkett, she discovered that both the woman and her children were no longer in Bay County and left the state of Florida.
The BCSO Criminal Investigations Unit immediately launched efforts to locate the missing children. The investigation allegedly revealed Burkett was accompanied by a man, later identified as Edwards, and they had traveled from Panama City, Florida, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the mother’s vehicle, taking the two children along with them for the approximately 16-hour drive.
Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Burkett on the evening of June 24. They swiftly relayed the relevant information to the Milwaukee Police Department to aid in apprehending the suspects.
In response to the escalating situation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) issued a Missing Child Alert on June 25 seeking public assistance in locating the children, identified as DeKarsen Middleton, aged 2, and Delyla Middleton, aged 1. The alert was widely disseminated through various media outlets.
Upon learning of the Missing Child Alert, the suspects allegedly sought to” distance themselves from the investigation and potential arrest” by abandoning the children at a public park in Milwaukee, leaving both toddlers completely alone in a major metropolitan area.
Milwaukee police found the kids later that evening and took them to the local police station.
After a thorough investigation, U.S. Marshals arrested the suspects at a residence in Milwaukee on June 26. Milwaukee police were also investigating their actions.
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Adalyn Burkett, Marquan L. Edwards abandoned toddlers: Cops
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