COLUMBUS, Ohio (TCD) — A 25-year-old woman pleaded guilty in federal court this week to kidnapping 5-month-old twins who were left in a running car, then abandoning one of the babies near an airport.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio announced Nalah Jackson will spend 20 years in prison after entering the plea for two counts of kidnapping a minor.
On Dec. 19, 2022, at approximately 10 p.m., Jackson left Donato’s Pizza in Columbus and drove off in a Honda Accord with the two children still in the back seat. The children’s mother was reportedly inside the pizza restaurant picking up a delivery order. After stealing the car, Jackson drove around western and central Ohio.
At approximately 3 a.m. on Dec. 20, Jackson stopped at Dayton International Airport, parked the car in a lot with the children inside, and went into the airport. She reportedly tried to call an Uber to find the Honda but was unable to pay for it. Jackson later located the vehicle but took one of the twins out and left him in the lot. Someone in the parking lot discovered the baby boy “in his car seat wrapped in a quilt between two vehicles.”
Jackson sped out of the airport parking lot and drove to Indianapolis with the other twin. She arrived at around 8 a.m. on Dec. 20 and fled from the car. Jackson left the infant in the vehicle strapped into his car seat.
The child remained in the car for 2 1/2 days.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Jackson was selling stolen goods at a gas station and a woman gave her a ride to a shopping center. The woman reportedly handed Jackson her phone number in case she was reselling any gifts. Then, the woman reportedly saw the news stories and social media posts about Jackson allegedly kidnapping the boys. She contacted her cousin and they created a plan to “meet up with Jackson to confirm her identity, recover the infant if possible, and lead Jackson to law enforcement.”
The woman and her cousin met up with Jackson on Dec. 22 and identified her as the suspect. They reportedly drove her around to shopping malls around Indianapolis “all the while surreptitiously attempting to contact law enforcement in Columbus and Indianapolis.”
They were ultimately able to reach out to law enforcement and police arrested Jackson on suspicion of kidnapping.
The women began searching for the child even though weather conditions were hazardous due to a snowstorm. They drove into a parking lot for pizza, then noticed the Honda Accord parked nearby. The U.S. attorney’s office said the car was already covered in snow. They rushed to the vehicle and were able to open the driver’s door, but were confronted with an “overwhelming foul smell.”
The child was not making any sounds, and one of the two women screamed because she thought he was deceased. The child started crying after hearing the scream, so the women took him out of the car and began caring for him.
They saw an unoccupied Indianapolis Police car, and searched for the officers in nearby establishments. They handed over the child in a Papa Johns Pizza, and officers rushed the boy to the hospital. The boy was suffering from dehydration, heart abnormalities because of the dehydration, extreme diaper rash, and skin deterioration from sitting in his car seat for three days.
On Jan. 28, 2023, about a month after the kidnapping, one of the twins died. The Franklin County Coroner’s Office said Ky’air Thomas was put on a bed face-down with “excess bedding and pillows,” which created an unsafe sleeping environment. He was not supervised and had recently eaten a meal.
The statement said, “It is well documented that infants under the age of 8 months have limited strength in the neck musculature to reposition their airway when encountering possible obstructions.”
The coroner could not confirm or exclude oxygen deprivation as the reason why he died, so his manner of death was listed as undetermined. The cause of death was sudden unexplained infant death syndrome “with other significant conditions including unsafe sleep environment; post-prandial infant placed facedown, unsupervised, on an adult bed, surrounded by excess pillows and blankets.”
There was no evidence of trauma, foul play, abuse, or neglect.
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