Indianapolis, IN – Melody Bannister, 34, of Stafford was
arrested in Plainfield, IN at approximately 2:30 a.m. at a Speedway Gas
Station off of Interstate I70 and State Road IN-267 for one count of
Parental Kidnapping of a Minor and four counts of Abduction by Parent.
The fugitive investigation for Bannister gained momentum when
Marshals received information about her possible whereabouts. She was
apprehended without incident and the four children were safely recovered
by the U.S. Marshal’s Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force and with
assistance by the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department.
Officers are working with Hendricks County and Child Protective Services
to provide warmth, food, shelter and temporary placement for the
children before they are returned to family members safe and sound.
The investigation began in early June 2019 when a woman identified
as Melody Bannister informed deputies that her four children were being
abused by a family member. After allegations were determined to be
unfounded by Stafford County Law Enforcement and Child Protective
Services, Bannister left Virginia with the children on a planned
vacation and never returned.
The U.S. Marshals Service and the
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children became involved in
the investigation several months later following the father’s granted
petition to the Stafford County Juvenile Domestic & Relations Court for
custody of the children and for Bannister to return the children to
Bannister refused to return the children and
subsequently petitioned the courts in Alabama requesting custody be
issued to her there. The courts in Alabama heard the case and also
ordered Bannister to return her children to their father back in
Virginia. Refusing the courts’ order, Bannister absconded from the state
of Alabama with the children.
Following the arrest, Bannister was
transported to the Hendricks County Jail where she will await
extradition to Virginia.
Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found
First Federal Law Enforcement Agency