PONCHATOULA, La. (WGNO/WKRG) — On Wednesday afternoon, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Jimmy Travis announced that they have canceled an Amber Alert out of Ponchatoula after the children were found safe in Santa Rosa County, Florida.
Chief Travis said officials were able to locate the missing vehicle, a 2013 maroon Hyundai Elantra, in Santa Rosa County, and 8-year-old Kaesyn Heck and 4-year-old Jax Matthews were found nearby.
Officials believe the boys’ biological mother, 38-year-old Shawntel Heck, is responsible for their kidnapping. Officials say she fled the scene, and a search is being conducted in a nearby wooded area. Sgt. Rich Aloy, Public Information Officer with Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, says they are looking for others involved.
According to Chief Travis, Heck was dropped off at the Ponchatoula residence Wednesday morning. She allegedly saw her children in the running vehicle and took it upon herself to steal the car and kidnap the boys. At that point, it is believed the mother fled to Santa Rosa County, where she had lived in the past. Chief Travis says when located, Heck will be charged with simple kidnapping and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Both are felony offenses.