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Mooresville sisters found; father charged

Posted September 30, 2009

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— Two missing Mooresville sisters who had been the subject of an Amber Alert were found safe Wednesday, and their father was taken into custody, authorities said.

The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office charged Matthew Hess, 40, with child abuse and child neglect for denying his daughter medical attention, Lt. Julie Gibson said.

Hess left a note last Thursday saying he was taking his daughters, Keara, 12, and Sierra, 11, to school last Thursday. Keara, who is nine months pregnant, was scheduled for a Cesarean section that day, authorities said.

Authorities found the trio Wednesday morning in Tennessee. Both girls were taken to a local hospital as a precaution, Gibson said. Keara had not given birth to her child, she added.

Authorities said they waited several days after the girls’ disappearance to issue the Amber Alert because Matthew Hess is the girls' legal guardian and did not break any laws by taking them. Also, Janette Hess told investigators that the girls had a good relationship with him and that she initially wasn't worried about their safety.

She and Matthew Hess were legally separated but had gotten back together this summer and were living together at the time the girls went missing, authorities said.

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  • Caroline Marie Sep 30, 2009

    "Baby Bump" as it was called on the video? Call it what it is, a pregnant stomach! This glorification of pregnancy by the celebrities who are always photographed with their "baby bump" and many of them young like Britney Spears little sister..what does all this teach our kids? Listen to the lyrics of DJTimJohnson's Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn or read them and maybe you will be as disgusted as I am. This world is lacking something! Maybe self respect? There is NO reason a 12 year old girl should be pregnant! The media needs to stop glorifying teenaged unwed pregnant mothers! Stop letting these girls go to school with the other kids...send them to special schools or at least separate them from the other students and quit giving them welfare and WIC! Quit making it socially acceptable for these kids to have sex and get pregnant!

  • Gucci Hippy Piggy Sep 30, 2009

    I agree...the pics should come down. WRAL, I'm appalled you have been showing a photo of this child. She has been found. There is no need anymore to keep showing this baby having a baby. :(

  • Southern Girl Sep 30, 2009

    WRAL- TAKE THE PICTURES AND THE VIDEO OF THIS 12-YEAR-OLD CHILD OFF OF YOUR NEWS. TAKE THEM OFF NOW. THIS IS A CHILD, FOR GOD'S SAKE, AND YOU KEEP PUTTING THOSE PICTURES AND THE VIDEO ON THERE FOR EVERYBODY TO SEE.

    WHAT WOULD YOU THINK IF THIS WAS YOUR DAUGHTER? THIS IS A CHILD, I REPEAT, A CHILD OF 12 YEARS. PLEASE, DO THE RIGHT THING AND TAKE THOSE PICTURES OFF RIGHT NOW.

  • MileageWarrior Sep 30, 2009

    cragan, THANK YOU. i have been debating this point with a co-worker today (friendly debate of course). she thinks it was wrong of him to take her away. i say, what if he was against the c-section? MANY doctors order c-sections that arent necessary. what if he was taking her to TN to see another doctor?

    will everyone's opinion change if it comes out that he took her to the dr there last thursday, got a second opinion from another doctor, who didn't feel the c-section was a medical necessity?

    why does everyone have to jump to negative conclusions? wait for the details folks. sheesh!

  • lakjrt Sep 30, 2009

    YES ITS WRONG ON WHAT HE DONE,BUT WHY IS A 12yr OLD PREGNENT?? WAS SHE RAPED OR JUST A "STUPID" MISTAKE THAT SHE WILL LIVE WITH THE REST OF HER LIFE?? ALL I CAN SAY I HOPE THE CHILD DOES NOT SUFFER!!!!! PS: WHO WILL BE SUPORTING THIS BABY??

  • PepperPoo Sep 30, 2009

    not to go off topic but are both of them her adoptive parents? i don't see any resemblance to the mother either. also, just because she is 12 and pregnant doesn't mean her father is her baby's father. young girls these days are fast.

  • cragan Sep 30, 2009

    so he is a legal gaurdian he has the right to choose what happens or does not happen to his child including c section were is the neglict

  • SaltlifeLady Sep 30, 2009

    I can't believe reading on here how many people assume things without knowing the whole story. First of all, to the mother who educated her son at age 11 about sex, I commend you.More parents need to do so!Definitely NOT too early. For those of you who think for a 12 y.o. to be pregnant "must be a crime committed" or "must be the dad", while its possible, don't jump to conclusions. There are plenty of 11 and 12 year-olds having sex with each other, including here in Wake County.I am a school nurse and I have seen the results. For the idiot who said they would "Make their child reveal the father or else", or else what? Can't make them tell anything. For all we know, this dad could not bear his child going through a C-section, or maybe she was too terrified to have it. C-secs are common in this age group due to their pelvis' being too small.My question is, if she was scheduled that day why would the mom let him take them to school? Shouldn't they have been on the way to the doctor?

  • teacher-mom Sep 30, 2009

    Let's see; I just saw on the news that the man is their stepfather. He has custody of those girls. Where is their father? All of the adults in this mess probably need to be in jail. This is too sick!

  • Doctor Dataclerk Sep 30, 2009

    I'm sure the children's pictures needed to be show in order to find them. But they are found now and I think it's disgusting to show the pregant stomach of a child on this or any site. Think about these two children and take it off.

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