ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – The family of a 5-year-old heart transplant patient taken by his father from a local hospital spoke out after the child was located just outside of Chicago.
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, the father and the boy's grandmother, Rhonda Marie Matthews, in Alsip, Illinois.
Three felony warrants were issued against Jeffrey Stone and Rhonda Marie Matthews for kidnapping, interfering with custody and endangering the welfare of a child. Both have been taken into custody.
Officials said Porter Stone appears 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. That belief was confirmed when they were located near Chicago.
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.
Porter's mother is currently at a local hotel meeting with family members. Porter's grandmother in Kansas City said the mother and family members plan to pick him up in Chicago on Wednesday.
Authorities are still investigating the case. It is not known why the father and grandmother took the child.
We’ll be sure to update the story as more details are released.
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