Local News

Mooresville sisters found; father charged

Posted September 30, 2009 11:47 a.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2009 3:31 p.m. EDT

— 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.