Central Texas woman whose report led to Amber Alert could face charges

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A Waco woman whose late-night report that a man had taken her two children led to an Amber Alert could face charges after police discovered that she had simply forgotten to pick up the 3- and 4-year-old girls from daycare.

The two girls who were the focus of the Amber Alert. (Waco Police Dept. photo)

“They have been recovered and are safe,” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Thursday morning.

“Our case investigation is ongoing and charges may be filed at a later time,”

The woman, whose name has not been released, called police at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to report that the children were missing and that a man she knew only as “Chris” had taken them, Swanton said.

“Multiple officers began a search of the surrounding area as well as places the male was known to frequent,” Swanton said.

Officers determined that “Chris” was, in fact, Christopher Ray Petty, who is wanted on multiple warrants including one charging family violence, Swanton said.

The Amber Alert was issued at around 4:30 a.m. Thursday that said the mother fell asleep at around 1 p.m. Wednesday and woke up at around 11 p.m. to discover the girls were gone.

She told officers she had left the girls with “Chris,” but Petty, it turns out, had nothing to do with the disappearance of the two children, who, police eventually determined, hadn’t disappeared at all.

Their mother, Swanton said, forgot that she took them to daycare Wednesday and failed to pick them up.

“The daycare staff made multiple attempts yesterday to contact the mother, but were unsuccessful in doing so. One of the daycare workers later took the two children home, bathing them and taking care of them through the night,” Swanton said.

“It was only after the intense coverage of the possible kidnapping that the daycare staff notified Waco PD of the location of the girls,” he said.

The Amber Alert was cancelled at around 7 a.m.

Because of what Swanton described as the “less than favorable living conditions” inside the children’s home, police notified Child Protective Services, which removed the children from the woman’s custody.

Officers continue to search for Petty.