A massive search was underway in Ohio for a 5-month-old missing baby after a car was stolen with him and his twin brother inside when their mother stepped away to pick up a food order, police said.
One of the children was found abandoned Monday at the Dayton International Airport, more than 70 miles from Columbus, where his mother’s car was stolen, police said. But a search continued Tuesday evening for the other child, police said.
The missing baby was identified as Kason Thomass, Columbus police chief Elaine Bryant said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Kason’s twin brother, Kyair, was found early Tuesday morning at the airport in Dayton.
Bryant said a homeless woman she identified as 24-year-old Nalah Jackson is a person of interest in the case.
“We’re begging you to please return Kason,” said Bryant, directing her words to Jackson. “Right now our concern is to get the baby. We want to make sure Kason is safe.”
Bryant said the incident unfolded about 9:45 pm Monday while Kyair and Kason were in a 2010 Honda Accord alone as their mother stopped into a Donatos Pizza restaurant in the Italian Village section of northeast Columbus to pick up a Door Dash order.
The mother’s car was stolen soon after the mother went into the restaurant, the police said. When the mother turned to look at her car from inside the restaurant, she noticed it was gone along with her twin babies, the police said.
Bryant said witnesses told police that Jackson was seated inside the restaurant when the mother walked in.
The car has not been located and Bryant said it remained unclear if the suspect dumped the vehicle somewhere or was still driving it.
An Amber Alert was issued by the state Highway Patrol around 1:37 am Tuesday. Police said the delay in issuing the alert was due to the stolen vehicle, which the mother recently purchased, not having license plates.
Bryant said at least 60 Columbus police officers have been assigned to the case and other law enforcement agencies were assisting in the search for the child. The chief said officers checked multiple residences around Columbus where Jackson once lived and searched several homeless encampments in Columbus she has been known to frequent.
Columbus Deputy Chief Smith Weir said he is worried about Kason’s well-being, saying, “We consider this child to be in danger.”
“This is a cry for help,” Weir said. “We’re asking the community to come forward and help us find this child.”