Kynadi Manley, 1, and Alexis Manley, 2.
By Ed Runyan
Two little girls from Pickens County, S.C., caught up in a custody case and a false Amber Alert, spent Christmas with a foster family after Bazetta police took them to Trumbull County Children Services Board last week.
Nick Kerosky, CSB executive director, said the girls, Kynadi Manley, 1, and Alexis Manley, 2, seemed to be “right at home” with the two Trumbull County foster parents who have cared for them since Thursday.
“They had a great Christmas,” Kerosky said, adding that the agency had dolls and other gifts and clothing to give the girls, as well as the gifts their mother gave Bazetta police for them at the time police took them into their care.
“The kids made themselves right at home. They’re safe, they’re happy, they’re comfortable,” Kerosky said, adding that they were eating well and not crying.
“They love to be held, love to receive attention,” Kerosky said. “They showed no fear of our folks.”
CSB will resume discussions Wednesday with the family court in Anderson County, S.C., which will determine whom the girls will live with when they return to South Carolina, Kerosky said. The court is closed the first two days this week, Kerosky said.
Kerosky said he expects the girls to return to South Carolina later this week.
One of the girls’ aunts, Lisa Ann Jordan, 40, of Easley, S.C., was charged last week in Easley with four counts of making a false police report, all felonies.
She’s accused of telling police Wednesday morning that the girls were abducted overnight from her house, and a Honda had been taken. The false report triggered a national Amber Alert, though the alert was canceled a couple of hours later when authorities determined that it was false and that the girls were not in any danger.
Jordan made an initial court appearance last week in the case and was being held in the Pickens County jail in lieu of $16,000 bond.
Jordan and the girls’ mother, Keyly Martay Wade, 20, plotted a scheme to allow Wade to take the girls out of the state to avoid court proceedings relating to custody of the girls, reports say.
Lt. J.B. Kelley of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office said at the time the girls were brought to Ohio, another aunt, whom he declined to identify, had temporary custody of the girls under a “safety plan” arranged by the Anderson County family court.
Bazetta Township police, acting on a tip regarding the girls’ whereabouts, found the girls, Wade, her mother and an unidentified man in a car leaving a parking space at Walmart on Thursday afternoon.
Police turned the girls over to CSB and released the others.
Kelley said the Bazetta police did the right thing by taking custody of the girls, even though the Amber Alert had been canceled. He would not comment on any charges the mother may face.
An Anderson County family court judge had issued a “pick-up order” for the girls after they were reported missing, Kelley said.
Kerosky credited the Bazetta police with being “in the right place at the right time” to take the girls into protective custody.
“Thank goodness for the Amber Alert,” Kerosky said, adding that it’s impressive that police from all over the country can work together well to protect children.
Kerosky said people in the community have called the agency wanting to know how the girls are doing and wanting to provide gifts.