KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- One suspect is in custody after a car theft where a child still inside the car happened in KCK on Wednesday night. One man is in custody, and a woman police have identified remains on the run. The pair is suspected of taking a car from a gas station with a little girl sleeping in the back seat.
KCK officers are hot on the trail of the woman who jumped into the running car with a 3-year-old girl sleeping in the backseat at the Valero on 7th Street Trafficway. A man who police believe to be her accomplice was arrested Thursday morning in Tonganoxie. He has not been charged so FOX 4 is not identifying him until that happens, but Shannon O'Brien caught up with his family to learn more about why he may have been involved.
"I was in shock, at first I was like that is him, clear as day, that's my brother," his sister who wished to remain anonymous told FOX 4.
"He has problems, he has drug problems, and everything, but he really is a good guy underneath all that stuff and I just feel like he really needs to get some major help and straighten his life up for once."
The sister of the 28-year-old suspect says her family has been tortured by her brother's drug problems for years. So it was not a big surprise when he showed up Wednesday night around 7:00 banging on her door.
"And he is acting a little crazy like he has been messed up or up for a few days or something, and I told him he needed to leave, and he was like 'I'm not high, I am not messed up, I am just scared for my life.' And I was like 'you need to go, you need to get out of here, you need help. Get out of here right now,'" she recalled.
The sister says just a few minutes after her brother left, she heard helicopters in the area and was immediately concerned.
"So I got on Facebook and everybody's like 'what are the helicopters doing?' And then I see on the news channels, missing child and a stolen car and I was like 'please don't let that be my brother, please don't let it be him,"' she said.
She says her hopes faded as she flipped on the television and saw surveillance video at the Valero gas station on 7th Street Trafficway in KCK - video of the suspect in a car theft with a sleeping child inside that she recognized right away as her brother.
A family member called police, and shortly after, more than a dozen United States Marshals showed up at her house.
"I told them everything I knew to try and help them. I wanted them to find him, I didn't want him to get hurt or dig himself into a deeper hole," the suspect's sister said.
Wednesday morning around 11, the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department says the suspect was arrested during a traffic stop in Tonganoxie.
"There is a huge sense of relief and I feel like I can sleep tonight, I know that he is actually safe and it wasn't like a violent police chase of something that will happen to him," the sister said.
She wanted the little girl's family to hear this message: "I am so sorry that this happened to you. I have kids of my own, I cannot imagine this happening ever, so I am just so sorry."
It took just under two hours to locate the car and the child, which had been ditched just outside of Tonganoxie. KCK police say the happy ending was a team effort with help from the media and the public.