After an Amber Alert and hours of searching through the night, Anniston police got word from police in Kankakee, Illinois that Michiri Zaquae Dabney was safe and with his father. Kankakee police alerted Anniston officers around 8:30 a.m Monday.
Anniston police said it’s possible both of Dabney’s parents could face charges in the case as they sort through the investigation and determine who has legal custody of the child.
Anniston police Lt. Fred Forsythe said police had run “two concurrent investigations” from the time they learned of the possible kidnapping. Some investigators looked at possible scenarios in which a family member was the abducter. Others were working the case based on the assumption that Dabney didn't know his kidnapper.
According to Forsythe, the boy’s mother, Lynette Davis, may have misled police in her initial reports.
“There was some misinformation, and some information that was not forthcoming,” Forsythe said. “If we had known that from the start, it would have changed the way we investigated this case.”
Forsythe said it was too early to tell if charges would be pressed against the mother, and said the decision would be up to the district attorney.
Before 10 a.m. Monday, Davis emerged from the Anniston Police Department and said police informed her Dabney was in the legal custody of the boy’s father in Illinois.
“They’re coming at me like I knew about it,” the woman shouted as she walked with family members to her car. “So now I could go to jail.”
Davis told reporters that Dabney had been in her custody since his fourth birthday and she hadn’t had contact with the father for months.
“If he has custody of my son, why couldn’t they escort him from me so I could say goodbye,” the woman said through tears. “I don’t know when I’ll see my son again.”
The woman said to the best of her knowledge, she had sole custody of Dabney.
“How could he have custody of my child?” she said. “I just registered him for school.”
But Forsythe said police received court documents from Kankakee, Ill. that said Dabney’s father, Michael Dabney, had won a custody court case in April. The documents said Davis was supposed to be present for the trial, but never came.
While investigators were talking to the mother, anxious friends and family members crowded the Police Department lobby, spilling outside, while waiting for any news. Tabatha Best was at the police station after participating most of the night in a community-wide search party, she said.
“We all formed an extended family since yesterday,” she said of the 30 or so people waiting at the police station.
Davis told police Sunday that sometime after 5:15 p.m. Dabney was abducted from a yard near their home in the 2000 block of Duncan Avenue.
Dabney had been playing outside with his cousin when a white van with a black stripe pulled up. The driver got out of the van, took Dabney and drove off while the cousin looked on. Now, police think Dabney's father was the man who took him. But Forsythe said they are still investigating what exactly happened.
Now, investigators have to determine which parent actually has legal custody of Dabney and, based on that, whether a crime was committed. Forsythe said Dabney will stay with his father in Illinois while those details are worked out.
Staff writer Cameron Steele contributed to this story.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.