Missing Tulsa children found safe after six-month search, parents jailed

By: Sara Whaley

Updated:

TULSA, Okla. - Quick facts:

  • Law enforcement in Florida arrested Christopher Smith and Shaquelle Cantrelle.
  • They are accused of taking off with two children during a supervised visit in Tulsa.
  • The children are in protective custody.

 

After a six-month search, Tulsa police say two missing kids are safe and their parents are in jail.

FOX23 broke the story in February when detectives said Christopher Smith and Shaquelle Cantrell took off with the children during a supervised visit.

The move came after the Department of Human Service had opted to remove the five-year-old boy and eight-year-old girl from the couple during a criminal investigation.

Smith and Cantrell were charged with child abuse and child neglect over accusations made by the boy.

Tulsa police say the children were placed with Cantrell’s sister, Shanequa Ragsdale. Detectives believe that Ragsdale allowed Smith and Cantrell to leave with the kids during a supervised visit in February.

Police say no one heard from the couple again until earlier this month, when police say they showed up at a hospital in Oseola County, Florida. They say Cantrell was pregnant and was in labor.

Tulsa police say they are still trying to figure out how hospital officials made the connection to the Oklahoma case.

Cpl. Mark Kraft says deputies in Florida called Tulsa dispatch to confirm the warrants. Then, Smith was arrested, and Cantrell was arrested after she delivered the baby.

All of the children were taken into protective custody.

The boy and girl are back in Tulsa with family members, while the newborn is still in Florida.

Police say they plan to interview the children in the future.

Detectives say the couple could face fugitive from justice and child stealing charges. They also say that if there is evidence of more abuse in the last six months, the couple could see additional child abuse charges as well.

Smith and Cantrell are expected to be back in Tulsa by the end of the month.

 

Ragsdale is currently undergoing court proceedings for child neglect, because detectives believe she allowed the couple to take the children.


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