SHELBY, N.C. – An Amber Alert for a missing Massachusetts woman and her five-year-old daughter ended with the woman’s arrest in Cleveland County Saturday.
Cleveland County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Leeana Wilson, 50, Saturday at her mother’s home off Yarn Mill Road near Shelby. She is charged with felony kidnapping and reckless endangerment of a child.
Her daughter, Alize, was found safe and is in DSS custody.
Massachusetts State Police issued the Amber Alert Friday after the Dept. of Children and Families won custody of Alize in a court hearing, but couldn’t find her at Wilson’s home in Fitchburg, Mass. They feared for the girl’s safety because of allegations of child abuse in the home.
Saturday morning, a DCF investigator got a call from Wilson in North Carolina, and they traced her to her mother’s house near Shelby.
Wilson’s mother, Jacquelyn Williams, says Massachusetts police are jumping to conclusions.
“She thought she had custody,” said Williams. “She had custody and all of a sudden, Bang! She no longer has custody.”
Williams said Saturday that Wilson had bought a house near Spartanburg, South Carolina, and was in the process of moving there. She hoped to be completely moved by the end of the month, said Williams.
Williams also said Wilson knew DCF was investigating her, and the agency had threatened to take Alize after the little girl told a teacher her mother pulled her hair while combing it.
Wilson didn’t know DCF was seeking custody, said Williams.
“Leeanna didn't know they were going to court, because she wouldn't have budged a foot out of that town if she'd known that,” said Williams. “They went to court Friday and got custody of her. She was already down here by then.”
Williams admits Wilson had several years’ of drug problems before getting pregnant with Alize, but said Wilson had quit using drugs and hasn’t used them since.
Wilson was also known to DCF because her first son, Christopher, died of shaken baby syndrome after being left with a 13-year-old babysitter, according to Williams.
She wanted to move close to her brother in South Carolina and start over, said Williams. But Saturday morning, Wilson’s brother told her she was the subject of an Amber Alert.
“She said, 'Are you kidding me?'” said Williams. “I said, 'Go home,' and she said, 'I'm going to.'”
Williams said Wilson and Alize drove to her house on the way back to Massachusetts, and that’s where she was arrested. Wilson is charged with kidnapping Alize.
“She didn't kidnap her daughter,” said Williams. “She had custody of her daughter when she left Massachusetts.”
Williams adds Wilson is a good mother, and doesn’t have anything to hide. She wants to go back and plead her case to a judge.
Wilson is being held in the Cleveland County jail under no bond until her extradition hearing on Monday.