MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Missing Child Alert has been cancelled for three Illinois children who were found in the lower Keys.
Becky Herrin, with Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said a Florida Highway Patrol trooper stopped a vehicle at mile marker 25 on Ramrod Key around 10:25 a.m. with the kids and a man and woman inside.
Herrin said the children were being turned over to the Department of Children and Families.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement had been looking for one year old Artistic Fletcher, seven-year old Damien Kelly and five-year old Nicholas Lane, along with Arthur Fletcher, 32, and his wife 28-year old Kirsten Kelly-Fletcher.
Earlier this week, Fletcher told the CBS station in Chicago that he took off with his family just as authorities were beginning an investigation into who or what caused the bruises on his one-year-old son Artistic’s thighs, behind and arm.
“I only did what a parent (would do) to protect their kid,” said Fletcher in the telephone interview. “We’ve called the Kankakee Police Department and let them know my children are safe.”
Last week, Fletcher said he and his wife, Kirsten, notified the state’s child-welfare agency when they noticed the bruises after picking up Artistic from the Jesus’ Lil Angels Daycare. He said they took the toddler to the hospital. But when state child-welfare workers, who were already working with the family, told them they were taking all of their kids into protective custody the Fletchers fled.
Anthia Winslow, the owner of the day care, denied Fletcher’s claims.
“My concern is for the children. There were no bruises or marks on them when they came or left,” said Winslow.
Kankakee police said they hadn’t heard from the family but wanted to talk to them to clear the matter up.
CBSChicago.com contributed to this report.