Friday, March 7, 2014
A woman who reportedly fled from Maine on Thursday with her 18-month-old granddaughter was found in Massachusetts with the girl, who was unharmed, said the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.
18-month-old Hazel Richards
On Thursday afternoon, the sheriff's office issued an alert to other police agencies to look out for Melanie Wever, 48, of Indiana, who they said kidnapped Hazel Richards.
On Thursday night, Sheriff Kevin Joyce said Wever, her granddaughter and the child's father were in custody of Massachusetts State Police and being questioned.
The decision on any charges will be up to the District Attorney's Office, said Joyce.
The girl's father, who is Wever's son, flew into Boston's Logan International Airport on Thursday to meet Wever, said Joyce. The man's name was not released.
At some point, the father was contacted by a detective from the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, who encouraged him to persuade Wever to turn herself in.
The father contacted Massachusetts State Police on Thursday night and agreed to meet officers with Wever at a convenience store in Stoneham, Mass.
Joyce said he was told that the girl was unharmed.
Police said the girl's parents, who with their daughter live in Indiana also, are having marital problems. Joyce said he could not provide any additional details about their relationship.
Police said the parents gave Wever permission last weekend to take the girl to Wever's daughter's home in Gray for a few days.
The girl's mother had a change of heart and decided to come to Maine on Wednesday to retrieve her daughter. Police said the mother has relatives who live in North Yarmouth.
When she asked Wever to return her daughter to her, Wever refused.
The mother contacted the sheriff's office Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Cumberland County sheriff's deputies contacted Wever by telephone and told her to return the child, but she refused, said Capt. Craig Smith, head of investigations for the sheriff's office.
Deputies consulted with the District Attorney's Office, which determined that a charge of kidnapping was warranted, Smith said.
The charge means that a person is taken against their will and hidden so they cannot be found.
A Facebook page for Wever indicates that she graduated from Morse High School in Bath in 1982 and now lives in Knightstown, Ind. Many photographs of her grandchild are on Wever's Facebook page.
The case alarmed law enforcement because it came just two days after a 47-year-old grandmother in Connecticut fatally shot her two young grandsons, then herself.
Smith said, "After an incident like that, you want to make sure it doesn't happen on your watch."
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: