A 6-year-old boy who had been missing since last August was found alive Tuesday afternoon, hidden – along with his fugitive mother – in the boarded-up attic of a southwest Missouri home, authorities said.
Braedence Jones had been missing for the past five months. His mother, Aubrey Ferguson, has been taken into police custody, KTLA sister station KTVI in St. Louis reported.
Officers executing a search warrant at a home in Laclede County found Braedence in an attic crawl space, Camden County Sheriff's Office officials said in a news release.
"Ferguson and her boyfriend were hiding the child in an attic crawl space that had been nailed shut and concealed," authorities said. "Ferguson was with the child in the crawl space when discovered."
Investigators were acting on a tip from the U.S. Marshals Service Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force, which worked on the case with the Sheriff's Office and other agencies.
Braedence was initially reported missing after he was not returned from his mother to his father, Ryan Jones, during a visit to Camden County on Aug. 3, 2018. The Missouri State Highway Patrol then issued an endangered person advisory in October, and Braedence's mother, who was wanted for felony child abduction, allegedly went on the run.
Officers arrested Ferguson and her boyfriend, Woodrow Ziegler, on Tuesday.
Ziegler is a felon and was court-ordered to not be around Braedence. He is one of the reasons an endangered person advisory was issued by the Missouri Highway Patrol, officials said.
Investigators said that Ferguson refused to bring their son back to his father; the two share custody but Braedence lives with Jones.
Ferguson is being held on a warrant for child abduction out of Camden County as well as a Capius Warrant out of Crawford County. Additional charges are being sought out of Laclede and possibly Camden Counties.
On Tuesday evening, Jones' girlfriend Breanne Dominguez posted a series of Facebook posts showing Braedence reunited with his father.
"OUR LITTLE BOY IS HOME. GOD IS SOOOO GOOD!!!!💜 Thank you all for the prayers, shared, phone calls and etc. we don’t know how to thank everyone enough. Our hearts are so full of joy atm. Just thank you everyone..." writes Breanne Marie Dominguez in a Facebook post.