Make your home page

Docs: Parents in missing family case may be on way to Mexico

Charges filed in case of missing Indianapolis family of 5

UPDATE – Police say the three missing children have been found safe in Texas after a standoff. The parents, Willie Terrell and Jessika Officer, have been detained.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The noncustodial parents of the three children who went missing from Indianapolis last week are now facing charges related to their disappearance.

Willie Terrell, 50, and Jessika Officer, 31, have been charged with three counts of interference with custody, removing children from the state in violation of court orders, according to online records.

According to court documents, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers were dispatched to the Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que, 3645 Vincennes Road, in Indianapolis around 1 p.m. on July 4 for an abduction. That restaurant is located on the city’s northwest side.

A man met with officers and said that he had custody of his three grandchildren — identified as Frankie, 4; Queen, 3; and King, 1 — and had agreed to bring the children to meet their parents for a meal at the restaurant with the approval of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

When the man returned from the bathroom after Willie and Terrell arrived, the pair had left in a white minivan with their three children.

IMPD detectives discovered the following day in their investigation that the children had been removed from their parents in October due to medical neglect, including failure to give their daily medications and fed them poorly.

A statewide Silver Alert was issued on July 5 for the pair and their three children.

Detectives requested “exigent pings” of the parents’ cellphones using the phone numbers provided by Child Services. Initially, Jessika’s phone pinged in Louisville, Kentucky, but later, Willie’s cellphone pinged indicating they were in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Detectives were later informed that the couple’s phone numbers were no longer active.

On Monday, detectives obtained an accurate phone number and successfully pinged it at 4:16 a.m. in Columbus, Texas. A Child Services case manager informed detectives that she had just spoken with Willie and his therapist in a three-way call.

Willie reportedly told his therapist during the call “the children were okay, they were on their way to Mexico, stating he was 288 miles from Mexico, and he wanted the FBI to investigate why his children kept being taken from him,” court documents say.

Detectives obtained medical records of the three children, which showed they have diagnosed with illnesses that need continued treatment.

On Tuesday morning, with the help of Texas officials, a ping of Willie’s phone revealed that he was in Pearsall, Texas, 101 miles from the United States-Mexico border.