A Missouri man and woman are behind bars after allegedly keeping a little boy hidden for five months while refusing to tell the father the child’s location, police confirm.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ryan Jones had been searching for his 6-year-son, Braedence Jones, since August, after his mother reportedly never brought him back home after a weekend visitation. According to Lieutenant Arlyne Page with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, the boy’s mother, 30-year-old Aubrey Ferguson, had an active warrant for her arrest after bringing the boy around her boyfriend, 41-year-old Woodrow Ziegler.
A parenting plan set up between Jones and Ferguson stated Braedence should never be in contact or around Ziegler. Police had reason to believe Ferguson was with Ziegler, despite it being a direct violation of her parenting plan. According to court documents, Ziegler has previous drug charges and burglary charges.
On Tuesday, officers with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office found Braedence and Ferguson hiding inside an attic crawl space in Laclede County. Ziegler, according to police, nailed the door to the crawl space shut, then hid the door under carpeting and furniture.
Braedence is now back home with his father, where he previously lived before Ferguson reportedly took him. A photo taken by Jones’ girlfriend captured the heartfelt moment.
OUR LITTLE BOY IS HOME. GOD IS SOOOO GOOD!!!!💜 Thank you all for the prayers, shared, phone calls and etc. we don’t know…
Lieutenant Page previously told CrimeOnline that Ferguson did not have the boy enrolled in school and had previous issues with lack of care for him.
“She’s had prior bad acts,” Page explained. “Other people had to talk to her into seeking medical attention for Braedence when he was 8-months-old.”
NBC5 obtained the probable cause statement in the case, which indicated that after Ferguson took the boy, she told Jones that although the child was safe with her, she wouldn’t reveal where she had him. She then turned off her phone so she wouldn’t receive further calls or texts from Jones, according to the station.
Surveillance footage from a Dollar General store in Eldridge, Missouri, on December 2, confirmed Ferguson did indeed have the boy. Lane told CrimeOnline that officers responded to calls after the boy was spotted at the store, but by the time they arrived to the store, Ferguson had already left.
A later tip from the U.S. Marshal Service’s Violent Fugitive Task Force eventually led authorities to Ferguson and Braedence. Ziegler had apparently been living with them.
Both Ferguson and Ziegler were arrested. Ferguson is facing a child abduction charge. The charges against Ziegler are unclear. According to police, additional charges may follow.
Braedence’s disappearance drew national attention, prompting missing persons advocates to create the Facebook group, “Help Bring Braedence Home.” Jones thanked the advocates for their dedication and work on the case.
“We also want to personally thank Donna McIntyre & Becky Rowe Darby for helping us in this case and getting the word out for Braedence. You both helped bring him home. 💜 and we are so blessed to have people like y’all in our lives 💜.”
[Feature Photo: Braedence Jones/Handout]