WASHINGTON – Jessica Tata, a U.S.
Marshals 15 Most Wanted Fugitive, arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson
International Airport in Atlanta shortly after 5:00 a.m. on a flight
from Lagos International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. Tata was captured
Saturday in Port Harcourt, Nigeria by Interpol and U.S. Department of
State Diplomatic Security agents.
In February, Tata, who owned and operated Jackie’s Day Care in Houston,
allegedly left the premises leaving seven children alone in the house
with a pot of oil on a burning stove resulting in a deadly fire.
Tata, 22, is wanted in Houston on four counts of manslaughter, six
counts of reckless injury to a child, three counts of abandoning a child
under 15 and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
After Harris County authorities discovered she had fled the local area,
they referred the case to the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Violent
Offenders and Fugitive Task Force.
The U.S. Marshals added the Texas daycare provider to their 15 Most
Wanted fugitive list March 4. The U.S. Marshals worked domestically and
with international investigative resources in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to
bring Tata to justice.
Since Friday, two Interpol – Lagos agents were in Port Harcourt working
leads and information provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, Interpol
Washington, and Department of State Diplomatic Security. Based on these
leads, the IP – Lagos agents were able to locate Tata and take her into
“When Jessica Tata chose to flee from the consequences of her actions
that left four innocent children dead, we made her capture a top
priority” said Geoffrey Shank, U.S. Marshals Service Acting Assistant
Director of Investigative Operations Division. “I thank our deputies,
and domestic and international partners, for their tireless persistence
in bringing this fugitive to justice.”
“Diplomatic Security’s Regional Security Office in Nigeria maintains an
excellent working relationship with local law enforcement personnel who
helped facilitate Jessica Tata’s capture,” said Jeffrey W. Culver,
Director of the Diplomatic Security Service. “With today’s announcement,
Diplomatic Security, working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals,
sends a strong message to criminals: there is no safe harbor outside the
"You cannot thumb your nose at the justice system, whether it be
domestically or abroad,” said Elizabeth Saenz, U.S. Marshal for the
Southern District of Texas. “Justice will be served. Jessica Tata has
learned this thanks to the global efforts of the many and unknown.”
Investigative entities involved in the case are the USMS Gulf Coast
Violent Offender and Fugitive Task Force, Houston Police Department,
Houston Fire Department, Harris County District Attorney’s Office,
Interpol Washington, the U.S. National Central Bureau, Interpol – Lagos,
DOJ Office of International Affairs and the USMS Investigative
Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at
America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency