Woman Arrested In Fairfax Abduction
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
A 5-year-old boy reported missing from a Fairfax County grocery store Sunday morning had been abducted by a stranger who was arrested yesterday, nearly 12 hours later, when police were tipped off that she had taken the child to a home in Northwest Washington, police said.
Police broadcast an Amber Alert for Kamron Wells shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday, when they became concerned that he might have been kidnapped from the Shoppers Food Warehouse on Little River Turnpike. The alert was seen by Milton Mooya, 33, who was watching the news at his house in the 5100 block of Ninth Street NW. And later that night, there would be a child in Mooya's home who matched the description.
Kamron arrived about midnight with a friend of Mooya's, whom he knows only as "Mike," and a woman Mike had met on nearby Georgia Avenue. The adults said they wanted to come inside to talk, and Mooya said he took the child to a bed in the basement because he looked sleepy.
When Mooya realized that he might have the missing child he had seen on television, he called 911, and the woman bolted out the door. Mike flagged down a District police officer, Lt. James Cullen, and pointed out the woman, who was arrested.
The woman was identified as Falah O. Joe, 28, of the Falls Church area. She was charged in federal court in Alexandria with kidnapping and was being held in the District last night.
Joe, a former stripper, has made headlines before. In 2003, she smuggled scissors into D.C. Superior Court during the sentencing of an ex-boyfriend implicated in a killing at the club where she danced. At the hearing, Joe tried to attack her ex-boyfriend, Melvin Brown. A deputy marshal intervened and was stabbed in the hand. Joe later pleaded guilty to two assault charges and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Prosecutors said in 2003 that Joe had a child with Brown, and that Brown worked as the head disc jockey at Foxy Playground, a District nightclub where Joe danced. Joe had testified against Brown at his murder trial, and he was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Federal agents and local police yesterday raided Joe's home in the 3500 block of Moncure Avenue in the Baileys Crossroads area, and authorities said that two children were found there. They declined to say whether the children were Joe's.
The FBI and police chiefs from Fairfax, the District and Metro Transit held a news conference yesterday. Fairfax Chief David M. Rohrer thanked "the public and the media for assisting us, which directly led to the safe recovery of Kamron Wells."
Rohrer said the child had wandered away from his grandfather and sister in the Shoppers about 11 a.m. Sunday. Police began to search for him with helicopters, bloodhounds and officers on foot and riding bikes, and gradually gathered surveillance video from businesses in the area. "As we did this," Rohrer said, "we found a young boy matching the description [of Kamron] being led away by the hand."
"This is a case that truly troubles us, as police officers and parents," Rohrer said. District Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said, "Every parent who's lost a child for a few seconds in a shopping mall can tell you the agony they feel."
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said that nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year, but in one recent year, only 7 percent of those were "non-family abductions," and only 115 of those fit the classic description of kidnapping.