TOULON, Ill. — The cries of a 3-week-old Toulon child lying near a gravel road helped volunteers searching the town to find her 11 1/2 hours after she was reported kidnapped Thursday morning.
On Friday, the child’s mother remained in the Stark County Jail on $100,000 bond, charged in connection with her daughter’s disappearance.
Kendra Meaker, 19, is facing one count of obstructing justice, a Class 4 felony under Illinois law that carries a prison sentence of one to three years. She also is charged with endangering the life and health of a child, in this case a Class A misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to one year upon conviction.
Meaker must post 10 percent of her bond, or $10,000, to be released. If she is released pending trial, she is to have no contact with the child.
Meaker’s child, Mia Graci Thompson, was found about 7:40 p.m. Thursday on a rural gravel country road about a mile outside Toulon, 11 1/2 hours after she was reported kidnapped, Stark County Sheriff Jimmie Dison said.
“She was crying,” Dison said. “That’s how volunteers searching found her.”
The child was taken to a local hospital, Dison said. Had the child not been found before night had fallen, she likely would not have remained safe because of the elements and wild animals, he added.
A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said the baby was being cared for at a hospital.
Dison said that Meaker had her other children with her.
“In my opinion, she just found it too much trouble to take care of (the baby),” he said.
Meaker reported at 8:10 a.m. Thursday that Mia was abducted from in front of the Toulon Post Office. Illinois State Police issued an Amber Alert in response to the report. Toulon is about 65 miles southeast of the Quad-Cities.
Dison said he thought there was something wrong with Meaker’s story from the beginning.
“I asked her several times, ‘Did you deliberately do something with that baby?’ and she said no,” Dison said. “That’s where the obstruction charge comes from.
“Thankfully, the child is fine. However, the troubles for the family are just beginning.”
Meaker’s aunt, Sandra Hollingworth of Marseilles said the family has endured “a hellish 24 hours.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)