Missouri woman who kidnapped 6-year-old son, kept him in an attic for months amid custody battle dodges jail
Aubrey Ferguson, 31, of Richland pleaded guilty to the charge of child abduction in November and was sentenced on Wednesday, January 8
RICHLAND, MISSOURI: A woman who kidnapped her six-year-old son and kept him locked in a nailed-shut attic during a custody dispute has reportedly been sentenced to five years probation.
The 31-year-old, identified as Aubrey Ferguson of Richland, pleaded guilty to the charge of child abduction in November and was sentenced on Wednesday, January 8.
The child, Braedence Jones, was reported missing by his father Ryan Jones, who gained custody of the boy over a year ago in August 2018.
Jones, while talking to prosecutors, said that he found out that the boy was missing after he went to pick him up from Ferguson's home near Camdenton, in LaClede County on August 3, 2018 after a week-long visit.
However, he did not find anyone at home and the house next door, where Ferguson's parents live, was also empty, according to the Daily Mail.
Ferguson reportedly sent text messages to Jones telling him that the boy was safe but refusing to reveal his location.
Multiple attempts to locate the woman and the child by local authorities were rendered unsuccessful. Nearly three months after Bredence was first reported missing, authorities issued an arrest warrant for Ferguson in November 2019.
Officials, using her phone pings and surveillance footage, established that she was with her 41-year-old boyfriend Woodrow Ziegler, a convicted felon and drug user who was ordered by the court to stay away from the child.
US Marshals, after five months of looking for them, eventually found the 6-year-old on January 8, 2019.
Reports state that the child was found in an attic crawl space, along with his mother, at a residence in rural LaClede County where Ferguson and Ziegler had been living together.
Ferguson was then charged with felony child abduction and was also ordered to have no contact with Braedence until the end of her probation period. The court, along with her sentencing, also ordered her to pay undisclosed damages to Jones who lost his job during his child's disappearance. Ziegler, meanwhile, was charged with hindering the prosecution of a felony. His sentencing is still awaited.
Jones was reunited with the 6-year-old shortly after their arrest.
The father's girlfriend, Breanne Marie Dominguez, later took to Facebook to detail their emotional reunion, writing: "Thank you all for the prayers, shared, phone calls and etc. we don't know how to thank everyone enough. Our hearts are so full of joy atm. Just thank you everyone,' one post read at the time.
'OUR LITTLE BOY IS HOME. GOD IS SOOOO GOOD!!!! Thank you all for the prayers, shared, phone calls and etc. we don't know how to thank everyone enough. Our hearts are so full of joy atm. Just thank you everyone. He seems to be physically OK. But since his abduction, the mother hasn't allowed him to go to school and more than likely has not taken him to a doctor if he needed one. We are hoping to help his father find counseling for him."