Police: Mom reported child missing so police would find car faster

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Police say that the child who was the subject of an Amber Alert this morning was never missing in the first place.

Columbus Police say 22-year-old Jessica Pickett was warming up her car near Chittenden Ave. and North 4th Street, just east of Ohio State University.  She called dispatchers Monday morning to report her car was stolen with her four-year-old daughter inside.  Pickett says, “I want to report somebody stole my car. Ma’am he just stole my car.”

An Amber Alert was issued.  Cell phones alarmed thanks to the emergency alert system. Citizens started calling dispatchers with tips and law enforcement officers across central Ohio searched for Fails.  One caller says, “I feel like I witnessed the Amber Alert today.”

As the search continued,  Pickett’s car was found and a suspect was arrested.  22-year-old  Bradley Stroud was charged with grand theft auto, but there was no sign of little Janylia.  One call cracked the case for missing Janylia.  The caller explains to the dispatcher, “I am trying to call in about that Amber Alert. She is not missing. She is at her Aunt’s house.”

Columbus Police respond to an apartment off Cassidy Avenue on the eastside where Janylia was found.  Columbus Police Sergeant Terry McConnell says, “We were able to determine that the child never was with the mother. She was at another location safe.”

McConnell says, “Information that she gave detectives was that she wanted them to find her car faster.”  He later called the decision selfish. Pickett is being charged with misdemeanor falsification and was issued a summons to appear in court.  McConnell did not know if Pickett would be required to re-pay any tax payer dollars used in the search for daughter.

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