The six-month search for two Tulsa, Oklahoma, children has reportedly ended with the children’s safe return and their parents’ arrest.
Christopher Smith and Shaquelle Cantrell are accused of taking off with their children during a supervised visit in February. According to KOKI, Department of Human Services (DHS) removed the couple’s 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter from their care after the boy made abuse and neglect allegations.
“It’s the trauma to those kids of having to be with those two people who they thought were supposed to be their protectors who in reality were their abusers,” Tulsa police Corporal Mark Kraft told the local station.
“Those kids thought maybe they’ll never be found.”
Tulsa police said the children were originally placed in the care of Cantrell’s sister, Shanequa Ragsdale. Detectives believe Ragsdale allowed Cantrell and Smith to take the kids during a supervised visit.
The family was allegedly found in Florida earlier this month. Cantrell, who was apparently pregnant throughout the ordeal, was recognized at an Osceola County, Florida, hospital where she went to give birth. Authorities are still determining how hospital officials connected the pair to the Oklahoma case.
Smith was supposedly apprehended after Florida deputies confirmed the warrant with Tulsa police. Cantrell was arrested after giving birth, the local station reported.
The three children were purportedly taken into protective custody. The 5- and 8-year-old are currently in Tulsa while the newborn is still in Florida.
Smith and Cantrell are scheduled to face fugitive from justice and child stealing charges by the end of the month. The pair could be hit with additional child abuse charges following a six-month investigation.
Court records revealed that Ragsdale is undergoing proceedings for child neglect.
[Featured Image: KOKI/screenshot]