The Oklahoma Highway Patrol tracked them down by the active GPS in the rental car they were driving.
The non-custodial parents of a 5-year-old Kansas boy are in jail after they kidnapped the child from school and led police on a lengthy chase that involved swapping vehicles and heading into Oklahoma.
The saga began, police say, at about 2:40 p.m. on Thursday when Danielle Banzet, the boy’s mother, walked into Rose Hill Elementary School claiming to be a social worker there to pick up 5-year-old Brandon Sisk. Banzet and the boy got into a black Suburban with a temporary tag — driven by a man later identified as the boy’s father, Zachary Sisk — and took off, according to WDAF.
The Rose Hill School District Police Department determined that Banzet was not a social worker and was instead the boy’s mother — who had lost her parental rights in court. They notified the Kansas Bureau of Investigation just before 5 p.m, and 45 minutes later, an Amber Alert was released.
By 7 p.m., though, Banzet and Sisk had switched cars, to a Volkswagen Jetta. Authorities brought in air support and K9s to search for the child, and just after 9 p.m., they found the Jetta abandoned in Cowley County, about an hour south of Rose Hill.
Shortly after 10 p.m., the Oklahoma Highway Patrol found them on Interstate 35 in Noble County, another hour south, aided by the active GPS in the rental car they were driving.
“Real-time location as to where the vehicle was, and because Kansas had reached out to us, and we had guys in the area, they were within about 10 miles of the location when we got it,” Lt. Phillip Ludwyck told KWCH.
Ludwyck said troopers found two guns in the vehicle, one of which was stolen.
Banzet and Sisk are being held in Noble County on multiple charges, KSNW reported: kidnapping; transporting a loaded firearm; convicted felon carrying or possessing a firearm; using firearm or other offensive weapon while committing or attempting to commit a felony; knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled dangerous substance; delivering, possessing or manufacturing drug paraphernalia knowing it will be used to plant into the human body a controlled dangerous substance; knowingly receiving any property that was stolen, embezzled, obtained by false pretense or robbery, or concealing, withholding such property; and failing to use child passenger restraint system.
They were awaiting trial on multiple drugs and weapons charges in Sedgwick County, Kansas, at the time of the kidnapping.
“We do think that they’ve been planning this for a while and they put quite a lot of thought into this,” Rose Hill School District Police Chief Matthew Neal, told KWCH.
The 5-year-old is back in Kansas with his custodians, he said.
“Hate the fact that it happened, that he went through it, but there’s a happy ending. He’s okay, he’s safe, he’s unharmed, and we’re just so happy for him that he got to go home and sleep in his own bed,” said Neal.
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[Featured image: Danielle Banzet and Zachary Sisk/Noble County Sheriff’s Office]