Friday, December 22, 2006

More details about child recovery

SWAT team arrests 2 in Illinois
Police say baby unharmed
White, Charlie and Jessie Halladay. Louisville Courier-Journal, Oct. 20, 2006, pg. A1.

A Kentucky woman and her boyfriend were captured last night in western Illinois after a three-day search that began when a social worker who had taken the woman's 9-month-old son to her for a visit was found dead.

The boy, Saige Terrell, was with them and was rescued in the FBI SWAT team operation in Godfrey, Ill., and EMS workers took him to a hospital to be examined.

"But he appears to be fine," said Henderson, Ky., police detective Ron Adams. "We are all very relieved."

David Beyer, a spokesman for the FBI in Louisville, said that the boy's mother, Renee Terrell, 33, and her boyfriend, Christopher Wayne Luttrell, 23, were taken into custody without incident in a camper on property off Blossom Road in Godfrey about 9:30 p.m., and that Saige was doing well.

"We considered them armed and dangerous. ... We wanted to take every precaution possible," Beyer said.

There were no injuries, he said.It was unclear where the suspects were being held last night. The child will be returned to Kentucky, Beyer said, and Terrell and Luttrell probably will face an extradition hearing.

Sgt. John Nevels, head detective of the Henderson police department, said at a news conference last night in Alton, Ill., that Terrell and Luttrell apparently had no connection to the area where they were found. Authorities said their car became disabled, and they broke into the camper, which had been abandoned.

Authorities did not want to tip off the suspects that they were close for fear that Saige would be harmed, Beyer said. "They did not know they (the SWAT team members) were there until we entered the trailer," Beyer said.

He said the property's owners had no idea that Terrell and Luttrell were hiding there.Earlier in the day, FBI agents from Springfield, Ill., St. Louis and Louisville were dispatched to the area when it was determined that Terrell and Luttrell were there. Officers used "technical capabilities" to track the couple, though Beyer said he could not disclose how they were tracked.

"Local police set up checkpoints around Godfrey and the FBI flooded the area with agents," he said.

Godfrey, a town of about 16,000 people in Madison County, is about 30 miles north of St. Louis. Madison County, considered part of the St. Louis metro area, has about 260,000 residents, according to the Census Bureau.

An Amber Alert was issued Monday evening for Saige and a state kidnapping warrant was issued against Terrell. The FBI issued warrants yesterday for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution against Terrell and Luttrell.Terrell also is a suspect in Frederick's murder, though no charges have been filed, Adams said.

Luttrell is wanted on a parole violation warrant in Jefferson County. He is accused of leaving a halfway house program in June in Louisville. He had been on parole after a 2004 conviction on several counts of burglary and theft.Earlier yesterday, a truck driver on Interstate 64 in eastern Illinois found the purse of slain social worker Boni Frederick, 67, who earlier had brought Saige to visit his mother at her home in Henderson.

Frederick was found dead in Terrell's home after Saige did not return to his foster parents. An autopsy showed Frederick suffered multiple blunt and sharp force trauma in a beating.

Frederick's purse was found yesterday near the Burnt Prairie exit in White County, about 30 miles east of Mount Vernon, Ill., and about 65 miles northwest of Henderson. The truck driver turned in the purse to the nearby Jefferson County, Ill., sheriff's office, Adams said."It's only a guess, but I would say the purse was probably dropped the day of the murder," he said.

The purse was sealed to preserve it as evidence. Adams said he was not sure about the contents other than it was identified as Frederick's.

Nevels said everyone in the Henderson law enforcement community knew Frederick because police and social services work together often. Her death caused "outrage because of the extreme violence," he said.

Saige had been living in foster care since birth, but had been having regular supervised visits with his mother.

Renee Terrell's neighbors said she learned just last week that her son was going to be put up for adoption, which they say triggered her to begin talking about taking the boy to New Mexico.

The funeral for Boni Frederick is scheduled for 1p.m. CDT today at Townsend Funeral Home in Dixon, Ky., in Webster County. Visitation, at the funeral home, is from 8 a.m. today until the funeral.Reporter Charlie White can be reached at (502) 582-4653.


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