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Raeford mom says she was unaware of Amber Alert

Posted December 13, 2012
Updated December 14, 2012

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— The mother of a 12-year-old Raeford boy who was the subject of a statewide Amber Alert Thursday said she had been home with the boy for several hours and had no idea about the alert and that authorities were looking for them.

"I was watching TV, and my son just freaked out because of the fact that our name was going across the bottom of it," Karen Gardner Joyce said from her home Thursday night, about three hours after the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons issued the alert for her son, Pacen Ryan.

The Hoke County Sheriff's Office had identified Joyce as the abductor of her son in the alert. The two were last seen at her home at 175 Secretariat Court in Raeford Thursday.

But Joyce told a WRAL News crew that knocked on her door around 10:30 p.m. that she picked up her son from school and took him to the doctor before returning home around 5:30 p.m.

She said no sheriff's deputies had been to the home, and she was completely unaware of the Amber Alert until she saw it on the news.

Joyce appeared to be in shock and confused, WRAL News reporter Bruce Mildwurf said.

"She was angry, wondering why the police, sheriff's office, the state would publicize this and never come to the house," Mildwurf said.

"I was confused as to why there was an Amber Alert when the person they were looking for was home the whole time," he added. "The car they said they were looking for was in the garage."

In trying to get answers, Mildwurf said he called the sheriff's office.

"I've said, 'I've spoken to the mother,'" he said.

Less than 20 minutes later, deputies arrived at the home and took Joyce into custody. Pacen was taken into custody by Hoke County Child Protective Services.

It's unclear if authorities ever checked Joyce's home or why the Amber Alert was issued.

The sheriff's office did say Thursday night, however, that neither Joyce nor the boy's father had custody of him. But investigators were unsure who did.

"The child is mine, legally mine. I can't abduct my own child," she said, adding that he lives with her.

Joyce said after authorities arrived to her home that Child Protective Services wants her to have a mental evaluation.

151 Comments

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  • Sherlock Dec 17, 8:36 a.m.

    Joyce said after authorities arrived to her home that Child Protective Services wants her to have a mental evaluation. I read that she had already been evaled by DSS. Something is not right here?

  • nymamiyankee Dec 14, 4:51 p.m.

    the mom seemed more than a bit confused when i saw her on the news..she was rambling about what her husband had done to her arm..seemed like she was a bit "off"?

  • JAT Dec 14, 4:43 p.m.

    paulej - doesn't say. the broadcast gives more info than the written story.

  • anonemoose Dec 14, 4:40 p.m.

    Somebody commented about the Silver alerts being misused. I can assure you that they are not. Unlike Amber alerts, they actually have criteria THAT IS FOLLOWED rather than bowing to knee snap reactions of hysterical or vindictive parents who have seen nothing but AMBER ALERT and demand one even through it does not actually qualify and the supervisor knows it is much easier to issue a false alert than to explain why their doesn't qualify.

    The public sees waaaaaay to much on TV and believes it to be real. Like some news casts.

  • Dynol Yn Cael Ei Dec 14, 4:31 p.m.

    Cheez - "Ridiculous! Don't the police have more dangerous criminals to pursue than mothers taking good care of their children. Geez!!"

    Do you know this mother personally? To know that she does indeed take good care of the boy?

    No one seems to know that.

    That's what bothers me.

    Besides CCPS, where is the child now?

  • Dynol Yn Cael Ei Dec 14, 4:30 p.m.

    dollibug - "Actually this could be exactly right....sometimes attorneys and judges just kind of *overlook the child/children*....and what is best for them....they allow a parent to do whatever the heck they want to do....IF you have not been in this kind of situation....YOU HAVE NO CLUE....I didn't until I heard/saw it myself...."

    The child still lives somewhere with someone who feeds them, clothes them, etc.

    Who IS that in this case???

    Who called the authorities to get the Amber Alert?

    Why didn't the authorities ever go to the mother's house? In the time it took them to get there, once alerted by a news reporter, she could have killed the child a thousand times over if she's dangerous to him which no one has stated at all.

    In fact, the reporter said she seemed concerned and generally in shock over the whole thing.

  • cheezchicken Dec 14, 4:29 p.m.

    Ridiculous! Don't the police have more dangerous criminals to pursue than mothers taking good care of their children. Geez!!

  • Dynol Yn Cael Ei Dec 14, 4:28 p.m.

    Very strange story! Because she and the father recently broke up, it makes me wonder if the father didn't set the authorities on her in some kind of revenge.

    Praying for the child!

  • Alexia Dec 14, 4:26 p.m.

    "karma: this wasn't a fake amber alert. the mother was NOT supposed to have the child." --JAT

    Who is? The child live with foster parents?

  • southerntalent Dec 14, 4:15 p.m.

    she picked him up at school early am and the alert didnt come out till last night?

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