Deputies safely find 6 mo. baby who was abducted by mother; Ohio amber alert ends

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WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCBD) – Colleton County sheriff deputies and Walterboro police arrested the mother of 6-month-old child Saturday night, putting an end to an amber alert that was issued in Ohio. 

On November 17, Alexis Barnes abducted her 6-month-old daughter,  from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, according to deputies.  Barnes lost custody of her daughter back in July of 2018 after a judge found her to be mentally unfit to provide adequate care.  The Cleveland Heights Police Department issued an Amber Alert as soon as the abduction was reported by Social Services.

Around 8 p.m. Saturday, Ohio authorities received information that Barnes and the victim child may be in the company of another relative in the Walterboro area of Colleton County.  Deputies and Investigators from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office began working this lead and determined that the information was credible.  Efforts were concentrated in an area around Sniders Highway and I-95 that hosts a number of hotels and motels.

Assisted by Officers from the Walterboro Police Department, Deputies and Investigators located a vehicle in the parking lot of the Baymont Inn & Suites that was registered to Barnes’ Uncle.  A door-to-door search of the facility led to the safe recovery of the 6-month-old and the arrest of Barnes.

“What made this case so unique, we’ve seen everybody come together,” Colleton County Sheriff, R.A. Strickland, said. “The FBI and SLED, city of Walterboro Police Department, our investigators as well as road patrol. In 2018, you can’t ever tell, just because someone’s the parent of a child, in this case this was the mother of the child that was abducted. I don’t know w whole lot about her and why she wasn’t allowed to see her child, but I can tell you in 2018 we see all kinds of things that happens to children and we’re just glad to bring this baby home.” 

Barnes uncle was questioned Saturday night and released from police custody after cooperating with authorities, but he is still a part of the investigation. 

“It’s still under investigation, we haven’t ruled that out.” Strickland said. “According to him, he had now knowledge of this and that will be confirmed in the process of ruling out whether there will be charges going further or not.” 

At this time, the baby is safe and in the custody of local Social Services awaiting recovery to Ohio. Barnes was arrested on an active arrest warrant stemming from the abduction.  She is currently being housed at the Colleton County Detention Center and will be extradited Tuesday. 

More than a dozen law enforcement officers, including Strickland, participated in the search and recovery of the 6-month-old.

“Nothing brings more smiles and tears to my eyes that knowing that baby was located and it was brought home safely,” Strickland said. 

Sheriff Strickland cited the outstanding professionalism between the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, the Walterboro Police Department, the FBI – Charleston Office and the Cleveland Heights Police Department.  The communication and hard work led to the successful recovery of Emery Seals and the arrest of Alexis Barnes.

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