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Missing 5-month-old baby found alive after woman suspected of kidnapping him and his twin arrested in Indianapolis


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By Nouran Salahieh and Emma Tucker, CNN

Kason Thomass, the 5-month-old baby who was kidnapped with his twin while inside a car that was stolen Monday, was found safe and alive in Indianapolis Thursday, just hours after the suspect was taken into custody, according to a statement from the Columbus Division of Police.

Kason was found inside the stolen car, which was parked outside a pizza restaurant, police said.

“The 5-month-old boy is in good health and being transported to a hospital to be checked out,” police said in a tweet. “We are grateful to the public for their help throughout this investigation, and for the tireless work of our officers and our many partner agencies.”

On Monday night, twins Kason and Kyair were inside a black 2010 Honda Accord that was left running outside a pizzeria on High Street in Columbus while their mother, Wilhelmina Thomass, was picking up a restaurant order while working as a DoorDash driver, CNN previously reported.

When she came out, the car was gone. Kyair was later found abandoned near the Dayton International Airport around 4:15 a.m. Tuesday, but Kason remained missing.

Suspect Nalah Jackson was arrested at approximately 2 p.m. Thursday by officers with the Indianapolis Metro Police Department (IMPD) after officials received several tips that she was in the area, said Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant during a news conference.

At the time of Jackson’s arrest, Kason was not found with her, Bryant said.

Later Thursday, Kason was found in the stolen Honda Accord and was wearing the same clothes he was described to be wearing on Monday, police said.

Jackson, 24, is currently awaiting extradition to Columbus, where she faces two felony counts of kidnapping.

Since Jackson crossed state lines, she will be facing federal charges, Bryant said.

“It will absolutely be a federal investigation,” she said.

A warrant for Jackson’s arrest was filed through the Franklin County Court, according to an online docket.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has also charged Jackson with battery of bodily waste, according to Columbus Police.

An Amber Alert went out for the twins at 1:37 a.m. Tuesday, officials said. Restaurant employees told police that a homeless woman exited the restaurant after the twins’ mother entered the restaurant. The individual was later caught on camera at a gas station where she asked an employee for money.

Officials do not believe there’s a connection between the twins’ family and the suspect.

Witnesses spotted suspect

Columbus Police Deputy Chief Smith Weir said during the Thursday news conference that officers have received “over three dozen tips” since Wednesday from throughout the state.

Late Thursday morning, the department’s hotline received several calls from people in Indiana who believed they spotted Jackson in Indianapolis and officers “implored” the witnesses to call 911. IMPD informed Columbus police around 2 p.m. that they had stopped an individual who they believed to be Jackson and both departments worked together to identify her before taking her into custody, Weir said.

“If you have any information regarding this crime or the whereabouts of this baby, please contact us as soon as possible,” Weir said, adding that three detectives from the Columbus Division of Police are traveling to Indianapolis to coordinate with IMPD and the FBI to further the investigation.

The FBI had offered a $10,000 award for the safe return of Kason, according to Bryant.

‘Just bring my baby home’

On Wednesday, family members and community leaders gathered to pray for the safe return of the child.

During the vigil, the twins’ grandmother, LaFonda Thomass, begged for the return of Kason.

“If you look at him and you see anything, see a precious child who’s longing for his mother,” she said. “We beg you, please, please, please do the right thing and just bring my baby home.”

First Assistant Chief of Police LaShanna Potts said during the vigil, “We are committed to finding baby Kason. We want Nalah to do the right thing. … We know she’s capable of doing it because she did release one baby.”

Barnett and other family members searched for Kason throughout the Dayton area on Tuesday, including at the gas station, she told CNN affiliate WSYX.

“I just miss my babies. I miss them being together and their smile,” she told WSYX.

She said she’s worried about her son’s safety and if he’s being fed.

“Kason, he loves eating and that’s why I’m so so worried. I know he’s flipping out. He eats so fast. He eats in 3-5 minutes,” Barnett said.

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CNN’s Amanda Musa, Caroll Alvarado and Tanika Gray contributed to this report.

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