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Joplin Child Found After Abduction Alert - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Child Found After Abduction Alert

Updated:
Joplin, MO -

Update:  The boy has been taken into protective custody.

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A Joplin boy is safe after police issue an abduction alert.  The incident happened this morning on South Wall Avenue.  Joplin police say this is a complex case and more investigation is underway.  But police say right now, the facts show this child was in the middle of a fight between adults.

One neighbor worries nothing may change.

Heidi Cornwell knew something was wrong two homes down from her.

"People were parked in front of the house.  At first it was two older ladies who had some concerns, but then there were lots of cops," says Cornwell.

Police say there was lots of concern.

"We had a Facebook post drafted on scene that we were putting the child's picture in and getting all our details in to get disseminated," says Captain Trevor Duncan with the Joplin Police Department.

Joplin police had broadcasted a child abduction alert to surrounding law enforcement agencies.

"We were seeing if it met criteria for an Amber Alert," says Duncan.

Police say a three-year-old boy was inside a home with the girlfriend of the boy's father.  According to police, two females broke into the home and assaulted the girlfriend, then took the child.

"We're learning it's essentially a child custody dispute," says Duncan.  "There were court proceedings in place and other legal actions in place.  So it's an ongoing dispute over who should have the child."

The boy was found unharmed at a State of Missouri Children's Division building.

"Whether it was to make counter allegations or something like that, we're still looking into that.  Really, the only thing we know for sure is that law enforcement is there for a reason.  People shouldn't take matters into their own hands if they don't have to," says Duncan.

The boy is safe, but may still be part of a legal dispute.

"Kids are being put in a bad spot, just like today," says Duncan.

"The child pays for this because people can't deal with their own problems," says Cornwell.

Joplin police say they are not able to release some details of what happened because there is an ongoing investigation.  Police are very grateful, though, this child was found unharmed.

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