CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — A baby boy who was abducted as an infant in Florida almost 13 years ago has been reunited with his biological father, thanks to a local school official who had concerns over the boy’s school enrollment.
The school official contacted the Livingston County, Mo., Sheriff’s Office, which conducted an investigation into the boy’s background.
As a result, Sandy Hatte, 60, the boy’s grandmother, was arrested on Sept. 18 and charged with felony child abduction. Hatte is being held on a $25,000 bond in the Daviess/DeKalb Regional Jail.
Sheriff’s detectives conducted a thorough background investigation of the boy and were able to locate his biological father in Alabama.
The detectives obtained additional information from other law enforcement agencies, courts in Missouri and other states, which allegedly gave probable cause to support the allegation that the boy was abducted in Florida in 2000 when he was an infant.
“The dad was working, come home from work and she was gone with the baby,” said Detective Eric Menconi. “And he hasn’t been able to find them since.”
But that all changed on Sept. 5 when school officials grew suspicious of Hatte being the boy’s guardian.
“They had some concerns about an individual who had enrolled a child into school and has some concerns if they were the actual parent or custodian,” Menconi said.
Menconi said he started digging into records and realized the boy had been abducted.
Hatte was homeless, but found shelter at a home in Chillicothe with a man who offered them a place to stay. He said he had no idea she was on the run until police showed up at his house.
Hatte was taken into custody while officers went to the school to pick up the boy. Menconi said the boy was confused at first, but seems to be adapting well.
“It was a good reunion,” he said. “You could tell within the first three minutes they hit it off pretty well. Since then I’ve been on the phone with the dad and from what I’m understanding it’s going very well. He’s adjusting.”
The Days Inn and Golden Coral in Chillicothe donated their services to the father and son during their time of reunification. They are now Alabama.