(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.) — Three days after he went missing in an alleged carjacking in Ohio, 5-month-old Kason Thomass was found safe across state lines in Indiana.
It was an emotional moment for the Indianapolis officers who were the first to arrive at the scene.
“The first thing that went through my mind was thank God we found baby Kason. He’s alive and well,” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Sgt. Shawn Anderson told ABC Indianapolis affiliate WRTV on Friday.
His colleague, Sgt. Richard El, said he picked up Kason and held him, thinking, “You’re safe now, we got you, we going to get you back to your parents.”
“He was still in a onesie and it just gave me memories of my kids being young and whatnot,” El told WRTV. “So I gave him a hug and just held him and bounced him around a little bit and let him know that everything was going to be all right and that he would soon be reunited with his family.”
The search for Kason began Monday night, after a homeless woman allegedly stole his mom’s running 2010 Honda Accord outside a Columbus restaurant. Kason and his twin brother, Kyair, were inside the vehicle while their mom stepped away to pick up a food order, police said.
Kyair was found early Tuesday at the Dayton International Airport, more than 70 miles from Columbus. Surveillance cameras captured the suspect, 24-year-old Nalah Jackson, allegedly abandoning Kyair in his car seat in a parking lot at the Dayton airport, authorities said.
Police had received tips earlier Thursday that Jackson may have been spotted in Indianapolis. A person believed to be Jackson was stopped by police Thursday afternoon in the city and was positively identified through fingerprints, police said. She has been charged with two counts of kidnapping.
Kason was not with Jackson at the time of her arrest, at which point the search for the missing baby expanded to Indiana and an Amber Alert was initiated there, police said. Kason was ultimately located near an Indianapolis Papa Johns on Thursday in the stolen car, police said.
A Columbus Division of Police spokesperson confirmed to ABC Cleveland affiliate WEWS this week that two women, Shyann Delmar and her cousin Mecka Curry, were involved in the arrest of Jackson and the recovery of Kason, as first reported by the Indianapolis Star. The two mothers, confident they had met the suspect in Indianapolis, told the publication they helped lead police to Jackson during a traffic stop on Thursday, then found the Honda Accord with Kason inside near the Papa Johns later that day.
The two Indianapolis officers couldn’t speak to the details of the ongoing investigation, though they said they knew to be on the lookout for Kason.
“We understood that as the day went on, and the colder that it got, the conditions would have gotten a little bit worse if maybe Kason was out there,” El said. “So we wanted to make sure that we could reunite him with his family.”
Kason was found to be in good health and taken to a hospital for further evaluation. His grandmother, Lafonda Thomass, told WRTV the family was waiting for him to return home to Columbus.
“We are thankful he’s OK and for the support,” Lafonda Thomass said.
For Anderson, holding Kason after he was found safe was “one of the best feelings I’ve had in my career,” and reminded him why he became an officer.
“Moments like this are few and far in between. We see a lot of terrible things as law enforcement officers, it doesn’t happen a lot where we have positive, successful outcomes,” he said. “But when it does, it’s really what keeps me going. So this is just more fuel in my tank to continue to serve the community.”
Both officers are fathers, which made the moment particularly poignant.
“I got three kids at home. When I got home last night, I got out of my uniform, went and gave all of them a big hug,” El said. “It was just a very emotional day.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated the officers found the baby. It was updated to reflect they responded to the scene and to note the participation of Shyann Delmar and Mecka Curry in the case.
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