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Published: Wednesday, 9/15/2010

Missing child is found safe

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A missing Ottawa Hills boy for whom an Amber Alert was issued Tuesday was found safe last night in Madison Heights, Mich.

The boy, Ronald Root, 4, was allegedly abducted by his noncustodial mother Monday evening from a house on Orchard Road where he lives with his father.

The mother and son were found in the Detroit suburb after running out of gas. The mother, Katrina Jones Root, called her ex-husband, who is the custodial parent, and he called Ottawa Hills police. Ms. Jones Root, 36, was arrested and booked into the Oakland County jail.

The arrest and the safe recovery of the boy concluded a hectic day for Ottawa Hills police.

They had reason to believe the boy had been taken to the Chicago area or North Carolina and were trying to locate friends of the mother there.

Family members had told police that Ms. Jones Root believed people were out to harm her and was unable to care for herself or the boy, village police Chief Robert Overmeyer said.

"Normally, when we think of a noncustodial parent taking a child, there isn't a lot to worry about. But in this case, we are concerned about his safety and her safety," he said before the youngster was found.

The chief said Ms. Jones Root was a social worker in North Carolina for four years, although he wasn't sure just where, and that she has friends there and in Chicago.

The boy's father, Jason Root, confirmed that his son lives with him in the Ottawa Hills home.

He said he and Ms. Jones Root were divorced and he had sole custody of their son. He declined to answer further questions.

Lucas County court records show that on March 5, Domestic Relations Judge David Lewandowski designated Mr. Root the "temporary residential parent and legal custodian" and ordered the mother "to have no contact with the minor child" pending an investigation of her mental health history.

The custody investigation was completed, but the documents relating to it are not public.

Court records also show that technically the divorce is pending, because the final decree has not been filed. Mr. Root's attorney, Jeff Levy, had said the couple had agreed on a final settlement.

Staff writer Erica Blake contributed to this report.

Contact Carl Ryan at:

carlryan@theblade.com

or 410734-6050.



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