New charges filed in missing Harrisonville children case

bbashioum@demo-mo.comOctober 25, 2013 

The Cass County Prosecutor’s Office has charged a 19-year-old man in connection with helping his mother take her three children from their father’s rural Harrisonville home.

Sherri O’Neal, 44, and her son from another relationship, Jacob Miers, are accused of taking the children without permission two weeks ago.

Tabitha Davis, 11, Jasper Davis, 14, and Jordan Davis, 15, were found unharmed six days later in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Oct. 16, with Miers and their non-custodial mother.

Prosecutors charged Miers with three counts of accessory interference with custody.

The children were reported missing from their rural Harrisonville home in the 26000 block of Skyline Drive by their father at 5 p.m. Oct. 11.

The children had eaten lunch at home with him as it had been an early release day for the siblings, who attend schools in the Harrisonville School District.

Jamie Davis left the residence at 1:30 p.m. to go to work. When he returned home from work at 4 p.m., the children were not home. After calling neighbors and friends in search for his children, he contacted deputies.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office entered the children as missing persons in local, state and national law enforcement databases.

The father indicated the children could have been taken by O’Neal, their biological mother, but did not believe she would pose a severe risk of danger to the children.

O’Neal, who was last known to be living in Alaska, had not had any known contact with the children for more than three years.

A social worker contacted police Oct. 15 after O’Neal and one of the missing boys visited a Calgary shelter seeking financial assistance.

O’Neal allegedly told the shelter that they had sneaked across the Canadian border to escape an abusive relationship.

Naledi Lorna Curran, the communication manager for the shelter, told Canadian media, “She was looking for emergency help – food or money for gas.”

The social worker who met with the mother and child reported the incident to the authorities after she thought the story the individuals gave seemed suspicious.

“Curran said the mother left shortly after arriving and ‘staff felt something was amiss about the whole story’ and contacted police,” a news article published by Metro News reported.

According to Cass County deputies, Calgary police did an Internet search and found the news reports that the individuals were missing.

Canadian police worked overnight in an effort to locate O’Neal and Cass County detectives confirmed with the children’s father, Jamie Davis, that the surveillance video captured from the shelter did reveal the images of mother and the older teen. According to the Metro News article, O’Neal returned to the shelter the next day.

Police authorities were contacted and found the children with their mother and Miers in a motorhome in the Calgary downtown core at about 12:15 p.m., according to CTV Calgary News.

The children reportedly went with the police peacefully.

“I believe that one of the adults, or both of the adults, are originally from Alaska and I think we're just a major centre between Missouri and Alaska that they may have gone through," Calgary Police Service Sgt. Ryan Ayliffe told Canadian media.

The Cass County prosecutor issued a warrant for O’Neal’s arrest for “Interference with Custody – removed from state or concealed.”

The charge is a Class D Felony and bond has been set at $30,000.

According to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Canada has not set a time schedule to how soon the children will be reunited with their father or when O’Neal or Miers will be extradited to Cass County.

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