Authorities believe that 1-year-old Kaden Berry, the toddler who went missing from Wal-Mart in Humble in the early evening of June 29, may be in danger.
At a news conference June 30, Humble Police Department Sgt. Ken Theis said that the boy’s mother was arrested for shoplifting Sunday evening shortly after 5 p.m. Upon her arrest, she reportedly requested that her friend, 55-year-old Michael Gene Richardson, take Kaden and her vehicle to her mother’s home in Houston.
Officers managed to locate Richardson and Kaden inside the store and verified the arrangements, according to police.
“At approximately 7 p.m. the grandparents of the missing child arrived at the Humble Police Department and advised they had not been contacted and were unaware of the child’s location,” Theis said. “At approximately 7:15 p.m., detectives began checking locations provided by the mother of the missing child in attempts to locate the infant. During this time, a region-wide BOLO was sent to all surrounding agencies.”
Theis said that the suspect, who public records show has previously been arrested for several robberies and carrying an illegal shotgun, has an open parole violation warrant.
Although investigators believe Richardson currently lives in Houston, his driver’s license shows a Porter address while his file with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice parole board has a New Caney address on file.
“Due to the circumstances, we consider the child endangered,” Theis said. “[This is] based on the suspect having a parole warrant and finding out that the suspect is only a short-time friend. Detectives are exhausting all leads at this time. [They] are checking all leads where the mother indicated the child or the suspect could possibly be.”
At this time, Theis said, Richardson faces no charges other than the open parole warrant in connection with the missing person case.
“Drop the child at a safe place - a fire station, a hospital,” Theis appealed to Richardson, “just so we know the child’s OK.”
Meanwhile, Kaden’s mother still remains in custody for class B misdemeanor theft.
Theis said that the department will look into the issue of the child being released to the suspect by the officer responding to the theft call but noted that, during an arrest where children are involved, officers don’t always check for the identification of the person taking custody of the child, trusting the parent to release the child to a competent and trusted adult.
Child: Kaden Berry, 1 year old, born June 15, 2007; 2 feet tall, weighing about 27 pounds; wore blue jean shorts and a dark T-shirt when last seenSuspect: Michael Gene Richardson, 55, born Jan. 31, 1953; about 6 feet tall, weighing about 213 pounds; missing several front teeth; last seen wearing a white polo shirt , dark jeans and a black hat with red trim; wanted on parole violation; previously lived in the Porter/New Caney area, may now be residing in Houston Vehicle: 1989 maroon-colored Plymouth Voyager van, Texas license plate DKD 218; the paint on the hood is faded.