GREECE, N.Y. (WROC) — An Amber Alert has been canceled and the two young children forcibly taken from a Greece foster home Monday night have been found safe in Alabama.
Authorities say 3-year-old Shekeria Cash and 5-year-old Dimitri Cash were found safe out of state Wednesday evening. Greece Police Chief Andrew Forsythe said the kids are currently in police custody and are no longer in danger.
The children were found in Montgomery, Alabama, tracked by a vehicle that was rented in the Rochester area. Chief Forsythe said one person is currently in custody in Alabama, but he could not identify the person due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.
“While this is the best outcome that we could ask for, this investigation is far from over,” Chief Forsythe said. “Every person responsible for this abduction will be sought and apprehended. They will be held responsible for what they did.”
The chief said blood evidence found at the house that was invaded on English Road helped lead police to the suspects. Chief Forsythe credited the cooperation between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
“For 48 hours these men and women worked around the clock to develop leads, to run down witnesses, to conduct interviews, and not one time in that 48 hours was there one gripe, or one complaint,” Chief Forsythe said. “To have this done in 48 hours is truly amazing police work. This is truly a moment that we will cherish forever.”
An official from the Western New York U.S. Marshals Office said the kids are now safe, will be returned home, and are currently “happily eating chicken nuggets and watching a Tom and Jerry cartoon.”
“They [the children] were being secreted under a blanket, under the floorboard of a vehicle,” Chief Forsythe said. “You can imagine they’re upset, but as you heard, they’re watching cartoons and eating chicken nuggets so maybe they’re more resilient than we’re giving them credit for.”
“The way everyone came together, it was all hands on deck, it was whatever resources were needed were put forth and as a result we have a successful outcome,” Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich said. “I’m extremely proud of the Greece Police Department and our chief, I don’t think he’s slept in a couple weeks. It’s a very proud moment for me as a supervisor of this town, it’s a very proud moment for me as a resident of this state.”
Chief Forsythe said Bivona Advocacy Child Center will assist with the care of the children once they get back to New York state.
Police said Tuesday morning the children were abducted from a foster home on English Road by suspects who wore ski masks and used duct tape during their break-in.
“The female homeowner reported that she was downstairs while her seven foster children were upstairs when she heard a crashing sound. When she saw the suspects, she screamed and when she screamed two of her children came downstairs,” Chief Forsythe said Tuesday. “The two suspects then grabbed all three of them, used duct tape to forcibly tape all three of them together. Once they did that, they also put tape over the female homeowner’s mouth to prevent her from screaming. The two suspects then went upstairs and forcibly removed the two children.
“Last night, about 8:50 p.m. we responded to 805 English Road,” said Greece Police Chief Andrew Forsythe. “The female homeowner reported that she was downstairs while her seven foster children were upstairs when she heard a crashing sound. When she saw the suspects, she screamed and when she screamed two of her children came downstairs.”
“The two suspects then grabbed all three of them, used duct tape to forcibly tape all three of them together,” Chief Forsythe said. “Once they did that, they also put tape over the female homeowner’s mouth to prevent her from screaming. The two suspects then went upstairs and forcibly removed the two children Dimitri, and Shekeria.”
Police said the children were taken under circumstances that lead investigators to believe they are in imminent danger of serious harm or death.
The suspects were described as black males, each just over 6 feet tall. One is around 175 pounds, the other about 200 pounds. Investigators say both men were wearing flannel shirts, dickies work pants, black ski masks, and black knit hats.
A van owned by the English Road home residents was taken and later recovered at a nearby apartment complex on Whitehall Drive. It was unoccupied and abandoned.
“We believe based on the investigation that this was a planed and targeted abduction,” Chief Forsythe said Tuesday.
The father of the missing children, Dimitri Cash, was arrested last January. He was accused of forcibly removing his children from school without consent or custodial rights of the children. He was also accused of striking the school principal with his vehicle while leaving the school, when then prompted a local search for him and the kids.
“Our first priority is certainly to find these two children,” Chief Forsythe said Tuesday. “The father, Dimitri, is definitely someone we need to speak to. We are trying to locate him.”
The father is still facing four misdemeanor charges stemming from his 2020 arrest, but the police chief said it still has to play out in the courts, which have been delayed by the pandemic. The District Attorney’s office said Dimitri’s next court date isn’t set yet. The case is still being handled in Greece town court and the order of protection has been extended until April.
The police chief also said he could not confirm if Dimitri was one of the two men involved in the home invasion, but police want to find him and talk to him about what transpired.
“We want to talk to Dimitri, see what he knows about it,” Chief Forsythe said Tuesday. “Obviously they’re his children. I don’t know the full circumstances why they were particularly targeted — we don’t know what he knows, and it’s very important that we speak to him.”
The chief said Dimitri is from Rochester, but law enforcement is not currently confining their search to any immediate local areas.
Patrick Cash is Dimitri’s brother and he heard about the abduction Tuesday morning around midnight. He said he talked to a police officer at his door.
Patrick said he doesn’t talk to his brother often and hears what’s going on with him from his parents. However, Patrick said he doesn’t think Dimitri is responsible for this. Patrick said the children lived with his parents at one point and now live in the foster home.
“They’re loving adorable kids, I’ve spent numerous time around them, unfortunately that time was taken away from me when the state took them out of my parent’s house,” Patrick said.
He also said he didn’t know the kids were living down the street from him in the foster home until this happened on Tuesday. He said he wants the kids to live with him.
“I give my children a good life, I know I could give my niece and nephew a great life,” Patrick said Tuesday.
The chief said agencies are assisting the other foster children from the home who witnessed what happened.
“There’s seven children, all under the age of 11, and I can only imagine,” Chief Forsythe said. “I have three children of my own. I would imagine that they’re traumatized and we’re doing everything we can to provide support for them through counseling.”
Police said one of the victims suffered a cut to their lip, and that one of the suspects was believed to have injured himself upon forced entry of the premises.