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Waco community questions mother's motive after reporting her children 'kidnapped'

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Posted at 9:16 PM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 07:35:42-04

WACO, TX  — A Waco mother "misplaced" her children triggering an area-wide hunt for them and the man, who mom said, took them on.

While police searched for the children, they were safe in the hands of a day care worker.

The mother didn't face any criminal charges right away, but police said charges may be filed at a later time.

Erma Way doesn't understand how anybody could leave one child behind... much less, two.

"I can't forget mine....so I just don't know how anybody else could," Way said.

But, Waco police say that's what this mother did. She reported her girls, 4-year-old T'shanti Battle and 3-year-old Thariyah battle, were kidnapped.

The woman said she identified the suspect as Chris Petty.

In a strange twist, police found the girls safe at their day care, and it was something a woman at the family's apartment did not want to discuss.

"It's raining, it's 3 o'clock, the law is not here, y'all harassing her at this point. She already feels bad about herself," said the woman.

Texas social workers checked the apartment and found it "unsuitable for children."

Why?

On the outside they found junk, including rags and part of a chair. And that was just on the outside of the apartment.

The girls were safe because the owner of the day care says she takes her job of teaching and protecting children, seriously, though she didn't want to be photographed.

"Has this ever happened to me before? No," the day care owner said.

After retiring from Waco ISD, she never gave up her love for children, and their protection.

"5:30 came... what happened? I put in a call to the parent, nine times. I then went by the house, three times," the woman said.

She got them new clothes, dinner, took them to church and provided a place for them to stay.

She also called authorities, though people say she should have done it earlier.

"It's really a heart-felt and painful experience, my infiltrating and making sure the girls were kept safe and that's what we did," she said.

But now, the state has custody of the girls, leaving their mother, angry at the world, and the community, puzzled.

"Yeah, it is kinda crazy... it is," said Way.

Police have, so far, not explained why the mother accused Chris Petty of taking her children.

Waco police continue their search Thursday night for Petty, who they say, has outstanding warrants against him, including one for an unrelated case of family violence.