Memphis children missing for nearly a year found alive near Miami; mother facing charges

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two children missing for nearly a year in Memphis have been found near Miami and now their mother is facing charges.

Officers said one of the children was admitted to a hospital while the other is in protective custody, CBS Miami reported. A 15-year-old boy is still missing.

Police say they were kidnapped by their mother, Sandra Bates, and this isn’t the first time she’s accused of doing it.

Police fear the children may have been trafficked.

Sandra Bates

The children were found in Biscayne Park, Florida, just north of Miami.

Officers found one of the girls barefoot, disoriented and wandering the streets. She told them she hurt her foot while escaping and that she had no idea where she was. She could only tell officers the color of the house she left and two house numbers.

That was enought to lead officers to the home of her mother Sandra Bates.

Police said when they arrived they found the girl’s 9-year-old sister hidden in a closet.

Bates was arrested and charged with kidnapping. She allegedly abducted the girls and their teenage brother after all three ran away from a foster home in southeast Memphis last September.

Servario Bates

This morning police are still searching for the brother, Servario Bates. Police believe he was in Florida with his siblings but he was not there when officers searched the home.

Bates remains in jail in Miami but will be brought back to Memphis.

Court documents show in 2016, the children were also reported missing by a foster parent.

Police found the children with Bates in the Wingood Circle apartments and she was charged with custodial interference.  

Documents show the children have been in the custody of the Department of Child Services since at least 2015.

According to Rachel Haaga, executive director with Restore Corps, it would not be uncommon to find that the children had been trafficked.

“It’s easier as a society for us to assume that we have to guard our children from the stranger who may bring danger rather than the acquaintance that might bring danger,” Haaga said.

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