March 4, 2024
March 4, 2024
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‘Trusted’ Florida babysitter takes young kids 1K miles across state lines, leaves them in park: police

Two children – ages 1 and 2 – were allegedly taken by a trusted family friend more than 1,000 miles from their Florida home and dumped in a Wisconsin park after the babysitter learned police were on her tail.

Adalyn Jean Burkett, 18, and Marquan Edwards, 22, were arrested on Monday, two days after the children’s mother reported her children missing, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office in northwest Florida announced. 

The duo allegedly took the children and their mother’s car for a cross-country trip from Panama City, Florida, to Milwaukee overnight from June 23 to June 24, according to the sheriff’s office. 

Less than 48 hours later, law enforcement closed in on the pair, who allegedly abandoned the kids in a public park in Milwaukee “to distance themselves from the investigation and possible arrest,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. 

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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a missing child alert for 2-year-old DeKarsen Middleton and 1-year-old Delyla Middleton. Arrest warrants were secured, and information was disseminated through Milwaukee news outlets. 

On Sunday, the children were found unharmed at the park and cared for by Milwaukee police, as the U.S. Marshals tracked down Burkett and Edwards. 

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The young children were reunited with their family the next day. 

Their grandmother, Tina Leach, told local ABC affiliate WISN 12 they were on the road since 4 a.m. Sunday. 

“We drove 17 hours to get here,” Leach said. “We would have walked if we had to.”

The children’s mom told the Bay County Sheriff’s Office that Burkett was a trusted family friend who was babysitting her kids the night they went missing, according to the sheriff’s office. 

“We never thought she would have done something like that. We trusted her,” Leach told WISN 12. “It just shows you who you can’t trust.”

Going deeper into the saga, the accused kidnapper Burkett was reported as a missing runaway in Milwaukee as a 15-year-old in 2020, according to a missing person report by the Marathon County, Wisconsin Sheriff’s Office. 

“Fifteen-year-old Adalyn Burkett has been missing from her home in the Town of Mosinee since May 20, 2020,” the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post on June 4, 2020. 

“Adalyn is believed to have left willingly and may be avoiding law enforcement officers, but due to her age is considered endangered and we are actively seeking to return her safely to her guardians. The latest information we received is that Adalyn is staying somewhere in the Rufus King neighborhood on the north side of Milwaukee.”

Before this incident, Burkett had not been seen since November 2021 in Milwaukee, according to a Fox 6 news report published on March 11, 2022, which said she may be in Florida. 

Milwaukee police said they are referring charges to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. 

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