Local News

Fort Bragg girl found safe in S.C.

Posted March 4, 2010

— A 5-year-old girl who authorities said was abducted Thursday morning from Fort Bragg by her mother was found safe Thursday afternoon in South Carolina, authorities said.

Te'amani LeSha Gerald was found in North Charleston, S.C., at about 4 p.m. It was unclear Thursday afternoon if she was found with her mother or if her mother has been arrested.

Alexis Gerald, sought in Amber Alert Mother lost custody before abduction

Fort Bragg officials issued an Amber Alert for Te'amani after she was taken from the front yard of her home on Lapoterie Street in the Hammond Hills Housing Area on post at about 8:15 a.m. Tom McCollum, a spokesman for Fort Bragg, said she was waiting for her ride to Butner Elementary School at the time of the abduction.

The state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety said Te'amani was taken by her mother, Alexis D. Gerald, and her grandmother, Phyllis Gerald.

Te'amani lives with her father, Sgt. Alfonso Green, but he wasn't home at the time she was abducted, McCollum said.

Green said Te'amani has been with him for about a year, and Alexis Gerald was served with court papers Wednesday denying her legal custody of the girl. The couple was never married, he said.

"She doesn't have a stable place to live, and I feel that me doing this gives my daughter an honest chance of life," he said. "I wish she'd understand that, if she wanted her daughter to have a good life, she would let me keep her daughter."

Alexis Gerald parked down the street from Green's house, he said, knowing Te'amani would leave for school at about 8 a.m. When the girl came outside for her carpool, he said, her mother called her over and drove off with her.

"If she could do something like that, she doesn't care about my daughter's education," Green said. "Why would you snatch your daughter from going to school? Somebody who would do something like that really don't care about their kid or anything."

Witnesses said the women and Te'amani were in a 1999 black Chevrolet Suburban. McCollum said the vehicle left Fort Bragg before the post could go on lockdown.

An Amber Alert was issued about three hours after the abduction. McCollum said Fort Bragg officials initially were informed that the case wouldn't qualify for the alert, but that stance later changed.


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  • gordonbabe Mar 5, 2010

    Something's not right in this mix. The parents were never married yet they both have the same last name as does the daughter?

    Yes, you're right, she shouldn't have taken the child, but if she had temporary custody; whether the child "missed school" or not... is that all this father was worried about? From WRAL's report that seemed to be all he complained about.. that she was going to miss school! WTH?

    Odds are she had temporary custody and the father filed for full.

    Unless you've been in a similar custody battle with an estranged ex... don't judge the mother or the father until the WHOLE truth comes out.

  • leo-nc Mar 5, 2010

    Abduction is abduction regardless if it's a parent or not. Thank God we aren't making the rules based on the opinions of Golo'ers or we'd be in big trouble around here...

  • happymom Mar 5, 2010

    "Denying that child to not see her mother is just wrong.

    I strongly disagree that a mother has an uniequivocal right to see a child she birthed. I worked for Family Services in Georgia for several years. The courts and CPS do not cut off contact or custodial rights unless there is some overwhelming reason to do so, and the fact that the father had sole custody in this case means that there was something VERY wrong with the mother and/or her situation. Protecting a child has to be the first and only priority. Parents do not have a natural right to put their children in harm's way.

    I applaud this father for advocating for his daughter the way that he obviously has done. It takes a lot for men, particularly soldiers, to willing step into the role of single parent. I wish more young men who have children living in unsafe or unfit situations would take a cue from this father. I'm glad he has his daughter back and I wish them well.

  • shortcake53 Mar 5, 2010

    genie2u, tell Shaniya Davis its ok not to issue an amber alert because her mother handed her over to someone else, oh wait, you cant, shes dead. I have custody of a grandchild and would issue an alert in a heartbeat if one of his parents showed up and abducted him. There is a reason some children are not safe with bio-parents, and I find your comment coldhearted and mean.

  • genie2u Mar 5, 2010

    This is ridiculous. The amber alert originally was SPECIFICALLY not to be used in parental abductions, or custody disputes UNLESS there was reason to believe the parent could be dangerous and harm child.

    Reason? Because parents do this all the time ( even though it is wrong) but they do, and using the amber alert every month for two parents disagreeing and one taking the child waters down its importance so people quit paying attention when a child is really KIDNAPPED by someone who means it harm

  • BraveHeart Mar 5, 2010

    thank god she is safe....her mom and dad need to get together and straighten out things after she gets out of jail(she should go to jail right?)

  • MzCole Mar 5, 2010

    Thank God!!! Glad she is safe. I hope this family can work through their issues and do what's best for the child.

  • CowboysFan Mar 5, 2010

    I am glad they found this baby girl alive and well. Can't say that nothing like this has ever happened to me. My dad did it with me and my sister bc my mom wasn't letting him see us. I'm just glad this one has a happy (happier) ending than the last!

  • Army Brat I Am Mar 4, 2010

    @brucem - u don't need a pass to get on base. You just need to have a valid i.d. to get on Bragg. If you're a civ there are only a few gates you are allowed to enter. But you can exit from any gate that is open. When the SUV went on base it was checked for "weapons". In truth, it's to easy to get on and off base. But if you do try to speed pass one of the gates at Bragg with out doing a check, they do have catch that will crush you and the car. Hope that helps.

  • brucem Mar 4, 2010

    i didnt think they let you just drive on base any more with out getting a pass at the front gate. what was the excuss they used to get the pass? why were they allowed on base?