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Texas boy kidnapped in 2004 reportedly found alive, reunited with mother

Krystle Rochelle Tanner
Krystle Rochelle Tanner St. Augustine County Sheriff's Department

(CBS/AP) FORT WORTH, Texas - Authorities say a Texas infant who disappeared eight years ago will be reunited with his mother after police arrested his former baby sitter who is accused of kidnapping him.

26-year-old Krystle Rochelle Tanner was arrested on a kidnapping charge Monday and remains jailed without bond in San Augustine, about 200 miles southeast of Fort Worth.

The boy's mother, Auboni Champion-Morin, told Houston television station KPRC that she may be reunited with her son later this week after undergoing a DNA test, even though authorities say they are sure of the boy's identity.

"I want to hold him in my arms and let him know who I am," she said. "I hope he can feel the same thing I feel from him."

Champion-Morin reported her 8-month-old son missing in late 2004. Tanner, also the baby's godmother and a friend, was a suspect after the infant's disappearance. She was supposed to watch the child for only one night, but Tanner's relatives told police that she and the baby had vanished. The case went cold and was closed in 2006, said Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham of the San Augustine Sheriff's Department.

Then, late last summer, child welfare investigators in San Augustine received a complaint that Tanner and her boyfriend were neglecting her two children, Cunningham said.

Officials looked for the older boy after the complaint, but Tanner told police different stories about the child:, including that he went by different names and that she had been keeping him briefly for a woman that she had met in a park.

Sheriff's deputies had no records for the boy and little information to work with, but they began investigating it as a missing child's case in January 2012. Neither Child Protective Services nor law enforcement knew about the 2004 Houston kidnapping case at the time because the boy had been removed from the national missing children's database.

"It was very difficult because we were essentially searching for a ghost," Cunningham told the Associated Press.

CPS officials recently learned Tanner was a suspect in the 2004 kidnapping, which led to her arrest Monday. One of Tanner's relatives led police officials to the boy but denied knowing he had been abducted.

The child appears to have never been in school, and one of the names Tanner called him was "dirty," Cunningham said.

Champion-Morin said that she had done everything to find her child. "I prayed every night that he was safe, loved and he would come home one day," Champion-Morin said.

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