The mother of a Missouri boy who had been registered missing since August has been arrested after the 6-year-old was found hidden in a concealed attic crawl space.
Braedence Jones was located by authorities at an address in Laclede County more than five months after his mother, 30-year-old Aubrey Ferguson, failed to return him to his biological father following a visitation.
The boy was eventually found after the Camden County Sherriff’s Department received information from U.S. Marshals Service Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force.
When officers arrived at the home, Ferguson and her boyfriend, 41-year-old Woodrow Ziegler, were hiding the boy in an attic crawl space that had been nailed shut, covered with carpet and blocked by furniture.
Ferguson was also inside the crawl space with Braedence when the boy was discovered, the Camden County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
The boy has since been reunited with his biological father, Ryan Jones, who has main custody of the child and was the one who originally reported him missing last August.
According to a probable cause statement, Ferguson had informed Jones that she was with Braedence and he was safe, but refused to tell him where they were.
Surveillance footage and pings from Ferguson’s phone indicated the pair were moving around the area in order to evade capture.
“He seems to be physically OK,” Camden County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Arlyne Page told The Associated Press of the 6-year-old. “But since his abduction, the mother hasn’t allowed him to go to school and more than likely has not taken him to a doctor if he needed one. We are hoping to help his father find counseling for him.”
An arrest warrant was put for Ferguson nearly three months after the boy was first reported missing. Ziegler, a convicted felon, was court-ordered not to be around Braedance. His involvement in the case prompted the Missouri State Highway Patrol to issue an endangered person advisory for the boy, reports Lake News Online.
Ferguson is being held on one count of child abduction, with additional charges also being sought.
Jones’s girlfriend, Breanne Dominguez, described her relief at Braedence being found safe in a post on Facebook.
“OUR LITTLE BOY IS HOME. GOD IS SOOOO GOOD!,” she wrote. “Thank you all for the prayers, shared, phone calls and etc. We don’t know how to thank everyone enough. Our hearts are so full of joy atm. Just thank you everyone.”
Camden County Sheriff’s Department