JPD: Suspect appears to try and take child against her will

Video shows chaotic scene at gas station, suspect’s intent is unknown to police

Woman accused of attempting to take child

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Poinsett County woman’s bond was reduced Monday after police arrested her Friday on suspicion of felony interference with child custody.

A probable cause affidavit states that police were called to the Mall at Turtle Creek about a woman who reportedly tries to kidnap a juvenile in the food court.

The victims told police that the woman, later identified as Melanie Carter of Marked Tree, sat at their table and began to talk to the 4-year-old about being sent by Jesus to save her from her kidnapper. Carter was reportedly referring to the child mother.

The affidavit states that Carter grabbed the child and tried to keep her away from her mother. It went on to say the mother began to engage Carter.

Mall security was able to intervene before anyone was hurt or before the child was taken.

Carter was taken into custody and taken to the Jonesboro Police Department for questioning.

Police learned during the investigation that Carter attempted to take a child at a gas station on Caraway Road under the same premise.

The affidavit states that there Carter told a 14-year-old that she was going to save her from her kidnapper. This time it was the child mother who was working at the gas station.

Carter allegedly grabbed the child, but the child fought back.

At the time of that incident, police were called but Carter left the area.

When a detective attempted to interview Carter, she would not speak to him about anything other than she was at the two locations that day trying to “save people” and “minister to them.” Carter was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree false imprisonment.

A judge reduced her bond Monday from $1 million dollars to $10,000. She was also ordered to wear an ankle monitor.

Her next court date is March 22.

Carter’s attorney Zach Morrison released the following statement to Region 8 News:

“From all indicators, this is totally out of character for Mrs. Carter.  She is a beloved member of her community, which is evident by the 25 friends and family members who showed up to the bond hearing in Mrs. Carter’s support. Her family and I are working with the proper healthcare professionals to try to understand what her mental state may have been when this occurred. We do not believe these incidents to be criminal acts, but something triggered by a mental health episode.”

MARKED TREE WOMAN BEING HELD AT CCDC UNDER A ONE MILLION DOLLAR BOND Jonesboro Police are investigating two incidents that occurred earlier today where a woman appeared to be trying to take a juvenile female from a public area. In both incidents, she grabbed the juveniles by the arm as if to lead them away, but in both instances, the mothers of the children stepped in and stopped her. At this time, it is not clear her actual intent. The suspect made statements at the scene of both incidents indicating that she believed the children to be in danger of being kidnapped and said she was just trying to protect them. The suspect, 39 yr. old Melanie Carter of Marked Tree, is being held on felony charges of Interference with Child Custody under a one million collar bond at the CCDC.

Posted by Jonesboro Police Department on Friday, February 8, 2019

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