COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kason Thomas, the five-month-old who was found Thursday evening after being kidnapped in Columbus, is expected to reunite with his family before Christmas.
It was the call LaFonda Thomas had been praying for.
"When we got that confirmation, the whole parking lot just lit up," Thomas, baby's grandmother, told News 5.
She had been spending days crying while she searched the streets for the abducted child, but Thursday's tears was different.
"This time there were tears of joy," she said.
It's the story that mobilized search parties across the Midwest.
"In the midst of so much chaos right now in our world, I would have never imagined that so many people would turn and tune in to my situation and want to help," Thomas said.
Kason was abducted with his twin Ky'air Monday night. Both boys were in the back seat of their mother's vehicle as she left the car running to pick up a Door Dash order.
Police say the suspect, Nalah Jackson, was inside the restaurant when the mother walked in but left a few moments later. She then got in the mother's car and drove off with the twins still in the vehicle.
The first twin, Ky'air was located the next morning at Dayton International Airport.
The hunt for Kason continued throughout the week. Police started searching the surrounding states.
On Thursday, two women in Indianapolis saw Kason near a Papa John's pizza. After calling local law enforcement, they waited with the baby until police arrived.
In an interview with News 5's sister-station WRTV in Indianapolis, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Shawn Anderson and Sgt. Richard El described the moment they got on scene.
"First thing that went through my mind was thank God we found baby Kason. He is alive and well, and my first instinct was I wanted to hold him, put my arms around him and just make sure he was ok," Anderson said.
El was the first on the scene, according to WRTV.
"When I picked him up and held him—it's just you are safe. You are safe now, we got you. We are going to get you back to your parents. He was still in a onesie and just gave me memories of my kids being young and whatnot, so I gave him a hug and held him and bounced him around a little bit and let him know everything would be alright and that he would soon be reunited with his family," El said.
Hours before the child was found safe, Columbus police announced Jackson had been arrested. Thomas said spirits were low earlier that day because while she was in custody, no one knew where the baby was.
"I was sick to my stomach knowing that she was caught and they didn't have my grandson," Thomas said. "But when we got that call, we just had a party in the parking lot."
Jackson, a 24-year-old homeless woman, had no relationship with the family and had previously been arrested for child endangerment and a slew of other charges. She has now been charged by IMPD with two felony counts of kidnapping. Marion County Sheriff's Office also charged Jackson with battery of bodily waste, but it is unclear what happened.
"I don't want Jackson to ever be able to walk the streets again," Thomas said. "She should not be able to walk among us regular human beings."
But because Thomas is a person of compassion, she also wants Jackson to receive mental health assistance, the grandmother added.
This case has changed the lives of the family forever, she said.
"We're definitely going to be more hands-on, more protective and just, you know, making sure that this never happens again," she said.
Kason was sent to the hospital for evaluation, and Thomas said he is still there but he should be getting home just in time for the holidays.
"He's a fighter because no matter what that girl was doing, riding around that car with my grandson, he fought to stay alive," she said. "He fought."
His coming home is truly "a Christmas miracle," she added.
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