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 I-70 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 and Relations Court for custody of the children and for Bannister to return the children to Virginia.
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.