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Sheriff targets DCFS after abduction case

December 8, 2012 4:52:47 AM PST
A child abduction case has led to a call for an investigation of the Department of Children and Family Services.

A toddler who was abducted last month is on his way back to Illinois. Cook County Sheriff's Police tracked the boy down in Tennessee on Friday.

Sheriff Tom Dart is pleased with his investigators, but says DCFS, "failed on many levels." Given that, Dart notified the governor and is asking the auditor general to investigate DCFS, top to bottom.

The latest mug shot for Taneil Curtis of Harvey is out. Authorities say the mother of four is in custody in Tennessee, accused of abducting her 21-month-old son a second time.

Sheriff Dart says it's time for the auditor general to take a close look at DCFS.

"Do I believe this is a bigger problem? Yes, absolutely," he said. "Do I believe this is isolated? No I don't."

Sheriff Dart says Curtis abducted the boy from the hospital when he was born, and then again on November 7, at a fast food restaurant in South Holland. He says a DCFS case worker was supervising the visit when Curtis took off with the boy. Dart says a man Curtis was dating, Kirk Alexander, rented the getaway vehicle. He's in custody right now for failing to register as a sex offender.

"If this doesn't scream out that somebody better look at the whole system, then nothing will," Dart said.

A DCFS spokesman responded Friday night, saying, "This visitation was supervised by a veteran staffer of one of our nonprofit partners, who immediately called 911, and police arrived within minutes. It is still under administrative review."

Dart says his investigators followed leads in the Chicago area, Indiana, Minnesota, and finally, Memphis, Tennessee, where authorities say they found Curtis at 4 Friday morning hiding in some bushes with her son.

Dart says they also learned that Curtis' parental rights for her three older children had been terminated; and she had four outstanding warrants at the time of alleged abduction last month.

"This so clearly was missed on so many different levels that there needs to be a looked at the whole system to make sure it isn't a bigger problem," Dart said.

Investigators discovered that Curtis had a sister in Tennessee, which is what led them there Friday morning.

As far as the boy, Dart says his father is not part of his life, so he's expected to return to the DCFS system.


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