BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Two children from Battle Creek were on their way home Thursday after a friend of the family took them on a cross-country trip and reportedly shut off his phone, losing contact with their mother.
Aaron Washington is now facing charges of kidnapping for not returning the children when their mother expected them following that trip.
Although she had willingly let Harmony and Hadden go with Washington, she said the situation eventually forced her to call police.
“My kids know him as Grandpa. That’s what the hard part about it is,” said Heather Arredondo, the children’s mother. “I can’t believe he could even do that, not call or anything,”
She said Washington had dated their grandmother in the past and remained a close family friend.
He allegedly asked Arredondo if the kids could go with him to a family member’s funeral in West Virgina to keep him company.
“The family down there, they have kids you know. They keep him company. They love him. He loves them,” said Arredondo.
Arredondo said the kids were supposed to be returned to her March, 12.
When that didn’t happen, she said she called him but he didn’t respond and she called Battle Creek Police.
“We didn’t have a disagreement until he didn’t answer me,” said Arredondo. “And now this is the disagreement.”
Arredondo said someone contacted Washington on Facebook while he was in West Virginia and alerted him that there was a problem.
He then called Battle Creek Police and told them he hadn’t had his phone on and didn’t know they were looking for them until he heard the messages.
Local authorities in West Virginia arrested him in Martinsburg for kidnapping.
Police said CPS was involved in the case and they had hoped the kids would be back in West Michigan sometime Thursday evening.