Local News

Wayne County officials 'surprised' Amber Alert was issued

Posted August 1, 2008

— Wayne County sheriff’s authorities said Friday that an Amber Alert for a missing 2-year-old Massachusetts girl surprised them, because they had been in contact with her father and considered the matter a custody dispute.

But the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, which issued the alert, said it was put out only after repeated attempts to get him to surrender to authorities and turn over his daughter.

After seeing the alert Friday morning, Joel Brown, 43, voluntarily turned himself in at the sheriff's office, sheriff's office spokesman Capt. Tom Effler said.

Authorities said Brown allegedly assaulted the mother of his daughter, Justice Rose Brown, during an argument at the child's day care in Chicopee, Mass., on Wednesday and left with the child.

The Chicopee Police Department then contacted the Wayne County Sheriff's Office for assistance.
Brown had been in touch with authorities since Thursday.

"He has been cooperating with us 100 percent," Effler said. "The child appears fine, happy. (She) doesn't seem like she's been harmed or in any danger at all."

Brown told sheriff's investigators that he and his daughter's mother were in the middle of a custody dispute but that neither had sole legal custody of the child.

A Massachusetts court granted the mother, whose name was not released, temporary emergency custody Thursday afternoon when Justice's health became a concern, police said. The child has severe allergies to nuts and takes daily medication. Brown was probably not aware of his daughter's medical needs, police said.

Chicopee police and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were able to contact Joel Brown Thursday evening and urged him to surrender to police and turn over his daughter. When he would not, the Amber Alert was issued.

Brown will not face charges in North Carolina but does face a charge of felony kidnapping by a parent as well as one count each of assault and battery and reckless endangerment of a child. He denies assaulting his daughter's mother.

Brown has waived extradition and was in the Wayne County jail Friday afternoon. Justice was reunited with her mother Friday morning.


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  • wakemom Aug 1, 2008

    What a sweet little face. I'm glad all turned out OK. It's not too often you hear of AA men taking their kids.
    Tired Of Excuses

    there are a lot AA men that take care of their kids. unfortunately, their stories never make news. news gets more attention when you report the bad things and not all positive things. notice the little boy's story in durham was quickly pushed down the top story and not even on the front page anymore. you gotta search those types of stories for the AA community.

  • Politically Honest NOT PC Aug 1, 2008

    NC Teacher, the original story did not offer alot of details. I see they updated the story and gave more information.

    Just like WRAL to print a story without all the details.

  • jlh4jdj Aug 1, 2008

    The court system affords the father no rights. People jump on their high horses and say that they want fathers to be in the children's lives. Then they don't let them. If a woman says anything like "he hit me" then the man has at least a year of court and lawyer fees and no time or little time with his kids. Then it will stay on the records even if it is found to be false. Let a man say a woman hit him or kept his kids from him the court will look the other way and say well its ok. Think before you condemn him.

  • FE Aug 1, 2008

    "Officials surprised 'Amber Alert' was issued..."

    As I was saying earlier about the "Chicken Little" syndrome at play here.........

  • NCTeacher Aug 1, 2008

    I think in the eyes of the law if you turn yourself in, you are still arrested. You just saved them the trouble of coming after you

  • LambeauSouth Aug 1, 2008

    What does not add up is that ABC is saying that he is being charged with Kidnapping and was arrested.
    Authorities said 43-year-old Joel Brown turned himself in Friday at the Wayne County Sheriff's Office. His daughter, 2-year-old Justice Rose Brown, was with him and unharmed. She is expected to be reunited with her mother later Friday.
    Authorities said Justice was taken Wednesday from a school in Chicopee, Mass. Sheriff's office spokesman Capt. Tom Effler said Brown had been in touch with authorities since Thursday.
    Brown has been charged with felony kidnapping by a parent and two misdemeanors

  • NCTeacher Aug 1, 2008

    Politically Honest-

    The story specifically said they initially tracked him to the Smithfield area, but later determined he was in Goldsboro. Which is definitely in Wayne County. I am guessing the Wayne county law enforcement had been in contact with him because he was probably trying to get legal custody of his child.

  • Tired Of Excuses Aug 1, 2008

    What a sweet little face. I'm glad all turned out OK. It's not too often you hear of AA men taking their kids.

  • ponyjumper07 Aug 1, 2008

    "The mother only has to claim that he assaulted her, no proof required."

    This is a very important thing to remember. I know a crazy woman my brother in law dated that liked to pull that stunt. He is the one that should have been filing assault charges.

  • jkca Aug 1, 2008

    Let's play devil's advocate here. Mom could be a crackhead, junkie, whatever. Maybe he wanted to get the child away from mom for awhile. Mom might've assaulted him, I've seen it happen by the way. Two sides to every story here. I've worked with a client who would've done anything to get his 2 kids away from their worthless mother. This particular guy in the story didn't do things the right way by any means,but we can't always assume the mother is always faultless. If she kept the child alienated from the daddy, of course she's not going to let him know about allergies or other medical conditions.
    Before I get blasted,I'm jsut applying a new twist on a possible scenario here, I'm not playing judge and jury.