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Hardy child found in Wisconsin

Thursday, January 24, 2002

A toddler abducted in Hardy last week has been found un-harmed. Though it is anticipated charges will be filed, they will be for assault, not kidnapping.

Hardy Police Chief Ernie Rose said he was notified at approximately 12:55 p.m. Jan. 17 of the alleged kidnapping of Ronnie Twilley Jr., 2, of Hardy.

According to Rose, Heather Terrell, 19, of Hardy called 9-1-1 and reported two women had pushed their way into her home and taken the child, whom she was baby-sitting; Terrell is the girlfriend of the child's father, Ronnie Twilley Sr.

Rose said Terrell stated there was a knock on the door and when she answered it two women pushed their way in and went into the bedroom where the younger Twilley was sleeping. She said when she attempted to stop them from taking the child one of the women grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the floor.

Terrell told Rose she screamed at the woman who threw her to the floor not to hurt her because she was pregnant. The other woman then yelled, "Leave her alone, Michelle," according to Terrell.

Terrell said she asked the other woman who she was and she responded, "I'm Cindy and I'm taking him (Twilley)."

Rose said Terrell was baby-sitting another 2-year-old child at the time and she grabbed that child and ran out of the house but the woman who had been referred to as "Michelle" went after her and dragged her back into the house.

The women then asked Terrell for some clothes for Twilley and she gave them a coat and shoes. The women yanked the telephone from the wall and left in an older model dingy, red, two-door hatchback, according to Terrell.

Rose said the child's mother is Michelle Twilley. He said the parents are not divorced, and at the time of the incident neither parent had sole custody.

Terrell said she had never met Michelle Twilley and could not positively identify her as the woman who had abducted the child.

Rose explained it was for this reason the incident was originally treated as a kidnapping.

Authorities put out the "Morgan Nick Alert," which is a cooperative effort of 250 radio stations in the state of Arkansas and law enforcement authorities. The plan provides law enforcement agencies access to local media in cases of children missing under suspicious circumstances. All participating radio stations will interrupt programming to broadcast the alert and any subsequent information provided by the police; the alert was rescinded on Jan. 18.

Rose said he left a message on Michelle Twilley's telephone in Milwaukee, Wis., for her to call him and received a call from her late in the evening on Jan. 18. Rose said he then requested authorities with the Milwaukee Police Department to go to Twilley's home and check on the welfare of the child.

They reported the child was laughing and playing when they were at the home and appeared to be in a good environment.

According to Rose, the elder Twilley filed for custody of the child following the incident and was granted temporary custody by Circuit Judge Tom Hilburn. He said Twilley would travel to Milwaukee to pick up his son this week.

Rose said he would file charges against Michelle Twilley for the assault of Terrell.



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