Friday, September 07, 2001

Tip leads to infant taken for 30 hours


Cousin arrested in Woodlawn

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — Just after 8 p.m. Thursday, Jennifer Fugate did the one thing she had waited more than 30 hours to do — she held her 6-week-old daughter.

        Since 10 a.m. Wednesday, the infant had been missing, taken by a 15-year-old female cousin on the run, according to police.

        The infant, Madison Lynn Bryant, was unhurt.

[photo] Jennifer Fugate holds her daughter at Hamilton police headquarters, with the father, Jeremy Bryant.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
        She was recovered about 6:30 p.m. Thursday by police in Woodlawn. Officers there had received a tip that the 15-year-old, of Fairfield, and the baby were staying at a Woodlawn house.

        Woodlawn police staked out the house, and when the 15-year-old girl and the baby pulled into the house driveway, police approached the car and arrested her without incident.

        Throughout Wednesday and all day Thursday, police and relatives reported various sightings of the girl and the infant across Butler and Hamilton counties.

        “Whoever called (police), thank you. I love you with all my heart,” said Ms. Fugate, 22, of Hamilton, as she cuddled her baby Thursday night at the Hamilton Police Department, where the baby had been brought from Woodlawn.

        The 15-year-old had said she wanted to take Madison to Fairfield High School for a school project, Ms. Fugate said.

        The teen picked up the baby, a few bottles of formula and some diapers about 10 a.m. Wednesday. She said she was going to walk the baby about a block to meet with an older aunt, who would drive them to school, Ms. Fugate said.

        The two never showed up at school. School officials said there was no program that involved bringing infants to school.

        Hamilton police said the teen is a habitual runaway, having left home at least three other times.

        “She has babysat (Madison) one time previously,” Hamilton Police Sgt. Jim Malone said of the girl. “It's definitely not a custody issue.”

        In a Fairfield police report, the girl's grandmother said her granddaughter left their apartment without permission and took the grandmother's car.

        Ms. Fugate and Jeremy Bryant, 23, live together and have two other children, ages 1 and 2.

        The teen is being held in the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center on a probation violation. Charges are pending.

        Sue Kiesewetter contributed to this report.
       



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