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Crash on I-20 leads Harrison County deputies to abandoned infant twins

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Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 9:10 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) -A bizarre late-night incident had drivers calling an East Texas sheriff’s office to report a woman on foot running through interstate traffic. Once confronted by authorities, she claimed she left her children in a crashed car.

It happened in Harrison County Tuesday night around 9:45, as sheriff’s deputies responded to I-20 near Buck Sharrod Road.

“She’d come out of the woods. She was belligerent. They immediately felt she was under the influence of something. Things just weren’t right, stories weren’t adding up,” says Harrison County Sheriff Brandon Fletcher.

26-year-old Fantasia Martinez was placed in custody. But there was more.

“She was saying she had a child she couldn’t find. Of course that heightens awareness. She kept saying another child, another child. Come to find out it’s twins, both six months old,” Fletcher says.

After a frantic two-hour search, deputies did find a vehicle crashed out on the dead-end south-side access road to the interstate.

Authorities said the vehicle appeared to have crashed through multiple road barricades; the engine was still running, and one infant was in the backseat.

“One child-seat, one child. One’s gone. We didn’t know whether she took one child in the woods and couldn’t find it. We couldn’t make sense of her story,” the sheriff said.

Martinez then created another problem.

“She managed to get out of the patrol car and attack the deputy,” Brandon says.

After a two-hour search, Fletcher sent units to Martinez’s residence on a hunch.

“When they arrived, they could see a car-seat in the living room sitting on a coffee table. We forced entry and sure enough, the baby was sitting in a car-seat on the coffee table. It had been left at home alone,” says Fletcher.

But the kids are safe now.

“Everybody knew we had a mission and we had to find the kid. We weren’t going home without the kid,” the sheriff says.

Martinez is in the Harrison County Jail on a charge of driving while intoxicated, two counts of endangering a child, one count of resisting arrest, and one count of escaping custody. The twins are in CPS custody.

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