Texas man charged after taking toddler, teen from mother
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Two children, a teenager and a 3-year-old, were located, safe and unharmed, in Gulfport, Miss. Thursday afternoon, February 4, just a few hours after they were reportedly abducted from an Atmore gas station by a man who is the father of one of the children.
Bruice Jyrome Jonson, 58, of San Antonio, Texas, was detained in Gulfport as he traveled back to Texas with his biological toddler and his teenage stepson.
Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks said the couple was experiencing a marital break-up and the woman had decided to move to Alabama. Her estranged husband followed her until she stopped at the Chevron gas station, just off Interstate 65’s Exit 54, where the reported abduction took place.
“They were separated, and they were going through a divorce,” the police chief said. “She left in a U-Haul, and (Jonson) followed her. She stopped at the gas station, and the children went inside to use the restroom. When they came out of the store, they got in the car with him.”
Brooks said police “believe it’s possible” the teen, who apparently did not want to leave Texas, was texting his stepfather during the trip, keeping him up to date on their route of travel. He explained that no Amber Alert was issued by the Alabama Fusion Center because none was needed.
“The mother was adamant that the children were not in imminent danger,” said Brooks. “The children have to be in harm’s way before an Amber Alert is issued. This did not rise to that level. Also, we knew what he was driving, where he lived and what route he would most likely take home.”
Interfering with child custody is a Class C felony in Alabama. As such, it carries a possible prison term, upon conviction, ranging from one year and one day, to 10 years.
Alabama Fusion Center and the Crimes Against Children unit from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Mobile office helped to safely resolve the incident and return the children to their mother.