The wintry weather that caused dozens of accidents across the Mid-South is now reportedly being blamed for delaying the return of a 3-year-old child who was abducted from North Carolina.
Riley Bockes – who was the subject of an Amber Alert – was brought to safety Thursday after her father Brent Bockes crashed and fled from his vehicle in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, police say. Her mother Deanna was found dead inside the family’s home in Sanford, N.C., on Wednesday.
Even though Riley’s older sister Erica has traveled to Tennessee to bring her home, the family says the snowstorm has delayed a custody hearing, WRAL reports.
Riley Harper Bockes, 3, was found safe in Tennessee late Wednesday and her father, Brent James Bockes, was arrested and charged in the killing of his wife and Riley’s mother, authorities said. (Sanford Police Department / Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office)
“They won’t release her to Erica. They were supposed to go to court [Friday], and now they’re saying they don’t know because of the weather and stuff,” Cheryl Brown, Deanna Bockes’ mother, told WRAL. “They had about three inches of snow, but I don’t understand why they can’t just let [Erica] bring [Riley] home. She needs to be with her family right now — both of them do.”
Brent Bockes, meanwhile, was arrested and remains jailed on charges of first-degree murder and larceny of a motor vehicle.
Sanford police believed Bockes took Riley and that the two were traveling in a stolen burgundy 2013 Toyota Avalon.
Investigators in Tennessee tracked down Riley and Bockes after a vehicle matching that description was involved in a crash on I-24 in Murfreesboro around 8 p.m., the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said.
Riley Harper Bockes ate pizza with deputies after she was found safe in Tennessee on Wednesday night. (Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office)
Bockes fled the scene of the crash with Riley, but the sheriff’s office said that deputies and K-9s tracked them to a Select Inn Motel with the help of Murfreesboro police.
Riley was found unharmed. The sheriff’s office later posted a photo of the child eating pizza with deputies to Facebook.
Deanna’s death is being investigated as a homicide.
“It’s unreal because she’s always been so full of love and full of life,” Cheryl Brown told WRAL.
Highway conditions in Tennessee on Thursday. (Tennessee Highway Patrol)
The station, citing court records, also reported that Brent Bockes’ previously has been found guilty of assault on a female and is facing 14 separate pending charges in two counties over allegations including drinking and driving, resisting arrest and misdemeanor child abuse.
Details about the homicide were not immediately available.
Fox News has reached out to the Sanford Police Department for further comment.
Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.