A second suspect is being sought by police Friday in connection with the bizarre kidnapping of a homeless Mobile woman’s baby earlier this month.
Tara Williams Lee is wanted by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) in connection with the abduction of a 9-month-old baby belonging to homeless woman Marie Childress.
Childress was reunited with her child Wednesday after a multistate investigation tracked her baby down in north Georgia. The baby was found with a Lee’s daughter Kayla Singleton. Singleton was arrested and is expected to be charged in the coming days.
Lee is wanted on charges of assault, unlawful imprisonment, and interfering with the child’s custody.
In a post on Facebook, the MCSO said Lee “participated with her daughter in taking advantage of a mentally challenged mama and kidnapping her baby.”
The complicated story began to unravel when homeless woman Marie Childress was picked up by law enforcement in Mobile for panhandling June 6, nearly 10 months after her child was born. After being taken to McKemie Place, a center in Mobile for women without a home, Childress reported to case workers that her baby had been kidnapped and began to explain the unusual circumstances of a story that started out in Wisconsin more than a year before.
Childress had met a man online who told her that he was moving to Mobile and wanted her to come with him, according to the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.
And she did.
She moved into a home with the man, who law enforcement have declined to name, and Singleton. Childress gave birth September 9.
“Marie [Childress] stated that while she was living in this home she was locked in a room, beaten and held without food,” said an MCSO spokesperson. “Kayla Singleton came to the hospital and threatened Marie telling her that the [Department of Human Resources] would not allow her to keep her baby because of outstanding warrants in Wisconsin.”
Turns out Childress didn’t have any outstanding warrants anywhere, but because she is mentally challenged believed what Singleton was saying, and that Singleton’s name was on the birth certificate.
For the last nine months Childress and Singleton have been living together, going from hotel to hotel, according to MCSO. Childress panhandled to get money for accommodation and food.
It was during that period of panhandling that Childress was picked up and when the full story began to become clear.
“A case worker with Franklin HCH notified our office of a possible kidnapping,” said MCSO of the June 6 arrest. “Detectives immediately began interviewing witnesses and putting together a timeline of events given by the victim.”
After a short period of investigation involving the U.S. Marshals Service and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, Childress’s child was located living with Singleton in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a city 350 miles from Mobile in the north part of the state.
On Tuesday at approximately 8:45 a.m., the infant was rescued and reunited with Childress.
The investigation is ongoing.