Local News

Mother glad taken girls are safe

Posted September 30, 2009

— The mother of two missing Mooresville sisters who were the subject of an Amber Alert says she is glad her daughters are safe.

“It has been a nightmare. I have been living a nightmare,” mother Janette Hess said.

Mooresville sisters found; father charged Mooresville sisters found; father charged

The girls’ father, Matthew Hess, 40, left a note last Thursday saying he was taking his daughters, Keara, 12, and Sierra, 11, to school. Keara, who is nine months pregnant, was scheduled for a Cesarean section that day, authorities said.

The girls were found safe Wednesday morning on a highway in Smith County, Tenn., after the Ford Explorer described in the Amber Alert was spotted. 

“We used to live in Tennessee,” Janette Hess said of why the trio probably traveled there.

Matthew Hess was arrested, and the girls were taken to a local hospital as a precaution, Lt. Julie Gibson said.

Keara had not yet 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. He and Janette Hess were legally separated, but had reunited over the summer and were living together.

Janette Hess also told authorities that the girls had a good relationship with him and that she initially wasn't worried about their safety. But then, as the days passed, she became worried about Keara giving birth.

“We talked with her doctor again late last night and she just felt in her opinion, she was willing to say, her condition was serious and could become critical. So based on that, the Amber Alert was issued,” Gibson said.

Authorities charged Matthew Hess with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and child neglect for denying his daughter medical attention, Gibson said.

Matthew Hess was in a Tennessee jail late Wednesday pending extradition to Iredell County.


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  • Army Brat I Am Oct 5, 2009

    Update to all, the father has been charged with indecent liberties with a child, first-degree rape and felony incest between near relatives.....so sad

  • james27613 Oct 1, 2009

    Glad they are safe now.

    If she went into labor on the road it would have put
    her and the baby life in danger.


  • justcommonsense Oct 1, 2009

    I love the lynch mob mentality here on this subject. The man is tried,convicted and hung without all the facts. While it may well turn out to be the case that he is the father (somehow I don't quite think so) we need to see what the investigation turns up.

    For all of those who posted things such as "she should be forced to give the baby up for adoption...or worse yet...abortion..get your heads out of the darkside. How judgemental you are of the mother..without facts...just speculation based on holier than thou and I'm so perfect attitudes. Mom and step dad may not have been neglectful, kids do find ways to do what they want at any age. We will have to wait and see.

    Yes, there is much here we don't know and obviously some very serious issues within the family. It is in the end the girl who will be "scarred" for the rest of her life.

  • affirmativediversity Oct 1, 2009

    oh and angora 2,

    my spelling can be a bit iffy and my typing is positively spastic at times...Hope that doesn't bother you either.

  • affirmativediversity Oct 1, 2009

    angora 2

    YES, I do...sure hope it doesn't bother you.

  • maydaymanny Oct 1, 2009

    DNA test...come on Iredell County...you need to see if this guy is the father and bring him up on rape of a child charges if so.

  • kittiboo Oct 1, 2009

    peppercorns, it is not the media's job to investigate this matter. It is the job of law enforcement. The media is free to report what is found in the investigation, when/if one occurs.

  • itsmyownopinion Oct 1, 2009

    Oops, I thought for a minute I couldn't count to four when I saw my last post. I have no clue why paragraph three wound up not being a separate paragraph, because I typed it as a separate paragraph -- go figure.

    Of course if I knew the answer to that, I might also know why my post previous to that didn't show up at all, as there was no terms of service violation involved.

  • peppercorns Oct 1, 2009

    no, NC READER I was not really arguing with you..lol sorry you took it that way.. I wanted to make the point that I feel the health and safety of the 12 year old and her sister are more important then that of the baby. If she keeps this baby as her own, instead of putting it up for adoption, she will have a daily reminder of what happened to her at an age when she should have been playing with toys and dolls. She will neer be able to put it behind her and move on. It will follow her like a scarlet letter. She is way too young. I know if my son came home with a young woman who had a baby at 12...my first thought is no way! She will always have that label.
    Sounds to me like this woman - the mom- wanted her to be prego and have a child so her barren self could raise one. THere is a lot more to this. THe media best get off its laurels and start asking questions...

  • peppercorns Oct 1, 2009

    OK -so they are such a religious family - that they would not allow an abortion..???
    But the are Ok with a 12 year old having sex - or being raped?