Child missing since 2004 found safe, babysitter in custody

Mugshot courtesy San Augustine Co. Sheriff's Dept.
Mugshot courtesy San Augustine Co. Sheriff's Dept.

By Samantha Jordan

SAN AUGUSTINE CO., TX (KTRE) – According to the San Augustine Co. Sheriff's office the child that was allegedly kidnapped 8 years ago has been found safe.

A woman suspected of kidnapping her neighbor's then 8 month old baby has been arrested in San Augustine.

According to authorities, at 8:45 p.m., Tuesday, the Houston Police Department homicide division received a call from a woman saying the child, Miguel Antonio Morin, was safe.

HPD said, the suspect's sister called them and stated the child was safe with her in Houston.

Authorities said Child Protective Services has been notified and arrangement were being made to pick up the child.

Investigators say the kidnapping case has come full circle.

San Augustine County investigators say Krystle Rochelle Tanner, 26, has evaded law enforcement for 8 years.  In 2004, Tanner lived in Houston and was babysitting a neighbor's child when both the child and Tanner turned up missing.

The baby's mother Auboni Champion-Morin, who still resides in Houston, contacted Houston authorities for help.  An investigation was launched to try and locate the missing child who was identified as Miguel Antonio Morin.  Tanner's family was uncooperative with the investigation, according to a report by Houston police.

In February 2005, HPD detectives took the case to the Harris County District Attorney's office.  The D-A accepted the kidnapping case but due a technicality a warrant was never issued.  The case fell through the cracks and was closed in 2006, according to Gary Cunningham, Chief Deputy, San Augustine Sheriff's department.

"The assistant or assistant D-A reviewed the case and asked for clarification of a certain aspect of the case regarding the exact date on which the child was taken.  For whatever reason the Houston Police department was unable to pin that information down and in 2006 they closed the case," Said Cunningham.

For several years there were no new developments in the case.  Then in August of last year, Child Protective Services in San Augustine received a report concerning Krystle Tanner and her relationship with her newborn and 8 year old child.  "There were allegations of negligent supervision and a CPS investigation began," said Cunningham.  "The CPS investigation was conducted on Krystle Tanner concerning an allegation, or report of negligence supervision of the children, and, perhaps, physical abuse of this unknown male child that was reportedly living under her household."

Cunningham said CPS investigators could not locate the 8 year old, believed to be the missing Houston baby.  He also said Tanner and her boyfriend provided 'false and misleading information' concerning the child.  The CPS investigation reached as far as Austin, where Tanner's mother lived, but there were no leads to the whereabouts of the 8 year old.

In January, a CPS supervisor contacted the San Augustine County Sheriff's department to conduct a criminal investigation on Tanner.  A series of interviews, a joint investigation by the sheriff's office and CPS led them back to Houston and the 2004 kidnapping allegations against Tanner.

Tanner was arrested Monday afternoon for kidnapping.  She is being held without bond.  Authorities say she remains uncooperative with law enforcement.

Houston police say this is a very active case.  They are still trying to sort out all of the details.  They plan to issue a press release Wednesday morning.

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