- Last Updated on 07:35 AM 11/19/12
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
An 18-month-old child is safe, and her parents face charges following a nightlong search Thursday night into Friday morning that prompted a nationwide Amber Alert, according to Halifax County Sheriff’s Office authorities.
Lt. Steve Cassada said the parents of 18-month-old Alexis Carwile both are in custody.
Jennifer D. Carwile, 35, and Eric E. Black, 41, both of Campbell County, were taken into custody at different times and locations early Friday morning.
Black has been brought back to Halifax County where he faces charges of abduction/kidnapping by a parent and a charge of felony breaking and entering into an occupied house to commit a certain misdemeanor, Cassada said.
Black was located near Richmond along Interstate 95 where he was taken into custody on the misdemeanor abduction charge.
Cassada said the charge has a possibility of being upgraded to felony abduction since the child was taken across state lines.
Early Friday morning, Carwile and the child were found in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where she is being held pending extradition to Virginia on a felony charge of abduction/kidnapping by a parent.
The incident began Thursday afternoon when Department of Social Services in Campbell County issued custody papers for the infant, Alexis Rose Carwile, who was staying with a relative in Halifax County, Cassada said.
The Campbell County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court awarded custody of Alexis Rose Carwile of Campbell County to the county’s Department of Social Services.
The child’s parents refused to comply with the court order and allegedly abducted the child Thursday afternoon from a residence in Halifax County where the 18-month-old girl had been staying with a relative, Cassada said.
Her parents allegedly entered the home of the relative and took the child, prompting a nationwide Amber Alert to be issued later Thursday afternoon, the lieutenant added.
A UPS driver on Interstate 95 in Virginia, after hearing of the Amber Alert, notified authorities when he identified the 1985 Nissan Maxima allegedly driven by Black as a vehicle in front of him on the interstate, Cassada explained.
According to Halifax County Emergency Services Coordinator Kirby Saunders, Virginia State Police received a call from Chesterfield County police that led them to stop Black at 4:34 a.m. Friday on Interstate 95 in Prince George County at mile marker 41. He was alone in the vehicle and taken into custody without incident.
Following his arrest, he was held at Riverside Regional Jail in Hopewell without bond before being returned to Halifax County on Friday.
Cassada said authorities in Prince George’s County, Md., acting on information from a family member, located and arrested Carwile without incident about 6:30 Friday morning.
Alexis Carwile, who was with Jennifer Carwile, was taken into protective custody and turned over to social services officials, Cassada said.
The 18-month-old had last been seen around 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Halifax County.
Authorities praised the effectiveness of the nationwide Amber Alert system saying, “It works.”
Cassada said because of the Amber Alert, the Carwile child was brought safely home to Halifax County, and the Amber Alert was canceled at 6:49 a.m. Friday.
After a long night, Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark heaped praise on everyone who worked to bring the child safely home.
“The baby’s safe,” Clark said shortly after 7 a.m. Friday.
Clark applauded the combined efforts of law enforcement, the public and the Virginia AMBER Alert program with the successful rescue of the abducted Campbell County infant.
“I particularly want to commend the UPS driver in Chesterfield County for being alert to the VDOT highway message boards and making such an effort to look for the suspect vehicle,” Sheriff Clark said. “The Virginia AMBER Alert program played a critical role in helping us find this endangered little girl. The program’s rapid dissemination of information to the public statewide combined with someone acting upon that information is what successfully resolved this situation.”
“Halifax County also recognizes the superior efforts of our county personnel for their dedication to finding little Alexis and bringing her home safely,” said Chad Loftis, deputy coordinator of Halifax County Emergency Services. “We also thank the Prince George’s County, Md. Police and the Virginia State Police for their valuable assistance.”