Texas women accused of hiding boy for eight years

Texas women accused of hiding boy for eight years

Credit: KHOU 11 News

Auboni Champion-Morin (left); Miguel Morin as a baby (center); Krystle Tanner (right)

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Associated Press

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 9:15 AM

SAN AUGUSTINE, Texas -- An East Texas jury has convicted two women of kidnapping a Houston boy when he was 8 months old and hiding him for eight years before he was found.

Jurors in San Augustine, Texas, deliberated for about two hours before finding Krystle Tanner and her mother, Gloria Walker, guilty Tuesday of kidnapping.

Walker also was found guilty of injury to a child, while the jury found Tanner guilty of a lesser charge of reckless injury to a child. Miguel Morin is now 8 and disappeared in 2004.

Authorities say Tanner, who used to baby-sit Miguel, took the boy from his Houston apartment complex when he was a baby. They say she and her mother moved the boy from homes in Central and East Texas to avoid detection, keeping him out of school and renaming him Jaquan.

After Tanner's newborn son in April 2010 tested positive for marijuana, authorities began investigating her and later determined that she had the missing boy. Tanner and Walker were arrested in March 2012.

San Augustine County sheriff's Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham testified this week that during his investigation, Tanner lied about who the boy was, saying he was the son of a woman in a nearby town. After her arrest, Tanner indicated her mother had instructed her to make up a name for Miguel or "she would be in trouble," he said.

On Thursday, Jennifer Kauffelt, a Houston police officer with the special crimes division-sex crimes unit, testified the investigation was closed in 2005 because the boy's parents were uncooperative and there were conflicting statements about whether Miguel had been taken.

Kauffelt said she thought this was not a kidnapping case but one about interference with child custody because she believed the boy's parents and Tanner had an agreement related to his custody.

Cunningham testified there was significant evidence showing this was a case of kidnapping and not about a custody dispute.

After being found, Miguel was placed in foster case. A judge in Houston last month placed the boy with his four siblings, who are being taken care of by a Houston-area couple, Junita and Joseph Auguillard. The Auguillards have been taking care of Miguel's siblings for nearly 10 years under an agreement they have with the boy's parents.

Miguel has been told about the true identity of his parents and his siblings, and he has been having weekly joint therapy sessions with his parents.

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