Adam Conn and Mark Feuerborn
Police asked anyone with any information regarding the case to call 911 immediately.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The search for a missing child who was inside a vehicle stolen Monday night continued into Wednesday morning, with still no sign of the child, the vehicle or the woman who is accused of taking both.
The search for Nalah Tamiko Jackson, 24, and Kason Thomas has continued more than 24 hours after the ordeal began. The latest update from Ohio Amber Alerts was the temporary tag from the stolen vehicle, which police said is torn. That tag number is M965246, and should be in the rear window of the black Honda Accord.
However, an update from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Wednesday night said there is no information on the tag number. The vehicle identification number (VIN) for the vehicle, which OSHP did release, is 1HGCP2F30AA031252.
The incident started Monday night when Kason and Kyair Thomas, five-month-old twins, were in the back seat of a running vehicle that was stolen from outside a Donato’s Pizza on North High Street and East 1st Avenue in Columbus.
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On Tuesday afternoon, Columbus Division of Police Chief Elaine Bryant shared a timeline of events from the abduction in a 2 p.m. press conference. Officers first got a call around 9:45 p.m. Monday at the Donatos Pizza. A mother had left Kason and Kyair in a running car while she walked up to the store to pick up a delivery order. When she turned around and looked back, she saw the suspect get into the vehicle and drive off.
Bryant said during the press conference that Jackson was a homeless woman inside the store and identified by Donatos workers. Jackson left when the mother walked up to the store and before officers got to the scene at 9:52 p.m.
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Kason is Black with brown eyes and hair. Since the Amber Alert was issued, a CPD sergeant confirmed to NBC4 that Kyair was found at the Dayton International Airport, at least an hour away from the Donatos where the twins disappeared.
Mike Etter, Dayton Chief of Public Safety and Security Coordinator, shared more details about how Kyair was found. A traveler walking around 4:15 a.m. in the economy parking lot heard a baby crying and then found him in a car seat wrapped in a quilt. The traveler called 911, and police arrived to hold Kyair and search the area for Kason.
Police faced delays in getting an Amber Alert issued for Kyair and Kason, according to Bryant. CPD first notified the Ohio State Highway Patrol and other neighboring police agencies about the abduction around 10:30 p.m. It then requested an Amber Alert from the OSHP at 11:45 p.m., then again at 12:05 a.m.
The Amber Alert finally went out at 1:37 a.m. The delay stemmed from the stolen black 2010 Honda Accord’s lack of a license plate or vehicle identification number because it was newly purchased, Bryant said.
Missing person’s group the Dock Ellis Foundation learned of the missing children from the Amber Alert, got involved in the search and posted an unspecified reward for information that finds Kason. A member speaking on behalf of the family said medics made sure Kyair was healthy when he was found, and his parents reunited with him in Dayton.
How an Amber Alert is issued in OhioCPD has since checked Jackson’s former addresses and three different homeless camps in the area looking for her. Court records showed Jackson previously faced charges including theft, receiving stolen property, interference with custody and endangering children.
Jackson and the Accord were also caught on surveillance camera at a Vandalia Park-N-Go, according to a report from WDTN in Dayton.
According to a time stamp on the photo, a woman reported to be Jackson entered the Park-N-Go at 12:13 a.m. Tuesday, which was about 80 minutes before the Amber Alert was issued. An employee at the store told the Vandalia police that the woman asked for directions to the airport to pick up a friend from Germany. The woman then drove off about two minutes later with her lights off and appeared to be disoriented, police said.
Originally described with the front bumper ripped off with a dent on the left rear quarter panel, police said the Accord may now also have heavy left side damage with purple paint transfer following an accident.
CPD also added that the Accord has a white bumper sticker on the rear that reads “Westside City Toys.” The mother told police she only remembered the temporary registration tag began with the letter “M.”
Harry Trombitas, a retired FBI special agent and Ohio Amber Alert Advisory Committee Member, said in cases such as this one, no stone is left unturned, but time is of the essence.
“I’m just again hoping and praying either [Jackson] realizes the gravity of what she’s done and gets that baby to a hospital or turns it into the police or fire station as soon as possible,” he said, “Because, again, this baby’s life depends on it and no parent should ever have to go through this.”
The boys’ father, Lechez Thomas, spoke to NBC4 about the abduction as well. He asked the public for help finding his son.
“I just need to know. I need them both,” Thomas said. “Try to speak up if you know anything and make sure the information is legit. Can’t keep doing these wild goose chases. I just want to hold my son, you know? … He’s just a baby, he didn’t do nothing to nobody.”
Columbus police asked anyone with information about Jackson to call its Special Victims Bureau tip line at 614-645-4266. CPD asked anyone who sees the car or the infant to call 911 immediately.