ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Police say a 5-year-old heart transplant patient taken by his father from a local hospital was located just outside of Chicago. The father and two family members involved have been charged.
Police said an AMBER and SARAA alert were issued Tuesday after Porter Stone was taken from St. Louis Children’s Hospital by his father, Jeffrey Stone.
Illinois State Police reported shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday that they had located the child with Jeffrey Stone, the boy’s grandmother, Rhonda Matthews, and the boy’s aunt, Heather Minton, in Alsip, Illinois.
Alsip police and Illinois state police officers responded to a hotel in Alsip after receiving information that Jeffrey Stone was at the hotel. Officers found a vehicle in the hotel parking lot matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle as described in the Amber Alert. Review of hotel surveillance confirmed that porter had checked into the hotel and officers were able to determine which room Porter was in.
Due to the severity of Porter’s condition, officers made entry into the room. Porter was located inside the room along with Jeffrey Stone, Matthews, Minton and another juvenile. Porter and the other juvenile were quickly taken into protective custody.
Stone, Matthews and Minton were arrested and have been charged with three felony counts for kidnapping, interfering with custody and endangering the welfare of a child.
Officials said Porter Stone appeared to be OK. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois for evaluation.
According to the victim’s uncle, Porter is from St. Joseph, Missouri and was flown to St. Louis from Kansas City on Sunday to be on a waiting list for a heart transplant.
The uncle, Ian Fife, said the boy was discharged from St. Louis Children’s Hospital around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.
“The father was with his son to go to the pharmacy to check on his meds. After we dropped off our stuff, we went back in to find him and he was gone,” Fife said.
Officials said Jeffrey Stone called the child’s mother, who was also at the hospital, and told her he was leaving with the child. Police told News 4 that Porter’s father did not have legal custody of him after the state of Texas gave his mom sole custody during legal separation. Porter’s parents are currently going through a divorce.
Porter, who is next in line to receive a heart transplant, was reportedly still hooked up to an IV machine and didn’t have his medications when he was taken.
Police searched for Jeffrey Stone’s car, a silver four-door Toyota Corolla with California license plates. Investigators believed from the beginning that Jeffrey’s mother, Rhonda, was also in the car.
Doctors tell News 4 that Porter suffers from cardiomyopathy or a weakening of the heart muscle. It is a condition he was diagnosed with only six months ago.
Meanwhile, family friends in St. Joseph said they were ecstatic at the news Porter was safe.
“Absolute elation, there’s no way to describe how happy we are to have him back,” said Jessica Chavez.
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