HAMMOMD, La. - Police say they have located two boys who went missing from their father's home in Ponchatoula across state lines in Florida, and are currently searching for their biological mother who is suspected in the kidnapping.
Louisiana State Police originally said Kaesyn Heck, 8, and Jax Matthews, 4, went missing from their home sometime Tuesday.
But in an update Wednesday afternoon, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office said the boys were located safe and unharmed in Santa Rosa County, Florida.
Sheriff Jimmy Travis said the boys were in good condition physically, but said he didn't know about their mental state.
"They were able to locate the children but the female fled on foot. They’re still searching for her. The children are currently in protective custody," he said. "They appear to be safe and fine."
Police now believe the boys' mother, Shawntel Heck, got a ride to the home of the boys' father from a Good Samaritan. When she arrived, she found the boys in their dad's car while he was getting a tool from the shed.
According to police, Heck got in the car and took off, headed for her family's home in Florida and leaving no initial clues as to who had taken the boys.
A witness was able to identify her, and the FBI contacted the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office because Heck reportedly had family in the area.
Deputies there spotted the stolen car and found Heck with the boys nearby. She fled into a nearby wooded area while they were focused on the children.
"This is still fluid in Florida because they don’t have her in custody yet," Travis said. "There is a search going on to take her into custody."
Warrants for her arrest have been issued in Tangipahoa Parish for simple kidnapping and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Both are felonies.
An Amber Alert was issued Wednesday, hours after the boys disappeared, despite investigators initially considering that the abduction was a stranger kidnapping.