Lufkin woman arrested for allegedly kidnapping her sons from TN

Mary Kern (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Mary Kern (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County Sheriff's deputy arrested a Lufkin woman Tuesday on a kidnapping arrest warrant from Henderson County, TN in connection to an incident in which she allegedly fled to Texas with her kids after a supervised visit.

Mary Kern, 26, of Lufkin, is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on a third-degree felony charge of kidnapping. No bail has been set, and she is awaiting extradition to Tennessee, where she will be charged with two counts of custodial interference, a Class E felony.

According to David Dowdy, an investigator with the Henderson County Sheriff's Office, Kern's two sons, ages 8 and 3, were removed from her custody and placed in foster care by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services because it is believed that Kern, who has a history of drug problems, exposed them to drugs.

The children were in a foster home in Henry County, and Kern was staying with a relative in Madison County. Dowdy said his county just happened to be between the two other counties and was deemed a suitable location for a supervised visit.

Dowdy said that Kern seemed to be trying to get her life back on track. She met with a foster worker and agreed to the court-mandated rules and safety guidelines. Kern was supposed to bring the two boys back to the foster care worker on Sunday. However, she never showed up with the children.

Authorities contacted Kern's sister, and when they checked Kerns's room, it was obvious that she had packed up all of her belongings and left, Dowdy said. The Henderson County investigator said authorities there suspected Kern would head back to the Lufkin area.

"Sgt. Murphy with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office did an excellent job of helping us out on this case," Dowdy said.

The two children are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services. Dowdy said a DCS worker is probably going come to Lufkin and fly them back Tennessee, where they will be placed back in foster care.

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