Differing State Laws Keep Reported Amber Alert Suspects Out Of Custody

From left: Olivia Smith, Cindy Findley
By  | 

A missing 5-month-old was found safe, but her disappearance has created a legal snafu for Oklahoma authorities.

An Amber Alert for Olivia Smith was issued out of Cashion, Okla. Thursday after she was reportedly abducted from her grandmother's home. Olivia's parents are both in jail, and the infant had been staying with her grandmother.

“Two white females walked into the house, grabbed the 5-month baby and ran back out of the house into a vehicle,” Kingfisher County Deputy Jonathan Reidlinger told Oklahoma City CBS affiliate News 9.

An Amber Alert was broadcast nationwide, and authorities raced to find the child, who was believed to be in danger. Fourteen hours after the child went missing, she was found unharmed in Seminole, Texas. But the Kingfisher County Sheriff's Office says the case isn't a cut and dry abduction case.

"[The suspects] had a document signed by the mother," a spokesman with the sheriff's office told 11 News. He said the document authorized Findley and Skousen to take baby Olivia from the grandmother's home.

The problem with the document, the sheriff's office said, is that it wasn't signed off by a judge.

"In Oklahoma, you can't just sign something...it has to be approved by a judge....it would be like if I had a child and one of my relatives walked into my home with a piece of paper and took her," the sheriff's office spokesperson said.

Texas authorities, however, saw it differently. When Findley and Skousen were found in Texas with the child, law enforcement there reportedly said the document sufficed. Neither woman was arrested, and Olivia remains with a relative in Texas.

Kingfisher County Sheriff's Office said they can't say yet if Findley and Skousen face charges in Oklahoma. But the spokesman said the whole mess could have been avoided in the first place if the document had just been approved by a judge.

"Could have been worked out in a court of law...this blew up bigger than it should have."



 
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus