IMPD chief talks about Amber Alert decision

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 3, 2015) – Two teens abducted at gunpoint are safe and in the custody of Child Protective Services (CPS). The police investigation is uncovering new information about the critical moments when Emma and Arron Blackwell were missing. Three gunmen kidnapped the Blackwell teens at their home in the 1200 block of North LaSalle Street.

Police waited hours before issuing an Amber Alert while investigators gathered more information. Chief Rick Hite said police had to proceed with caution because he believes lives were at stake.

“We don’t want to do anything at that particular point that could cause anyone to overreact or cause the death of these children,” said Hite.

The teens were taken at gunpoint around 3 a.m. Monday when the men showed up looking for their sister, Whitney Blackwell. Investigators believe the incident stemmed from a drug dispute. Whitney Blackwell is thought to have stolen cash and drugs in excess of $48,000 from a Detroit man.

Sources tell FOX59 the men restrained others in the home before leaving. They broke free about an hour later and called 911.

“You don’t take our children out of houses in pajama pants in the middle of the night, that’s not going to happen, we don’t need that here,” said Hite.

Hite said after the children were abducted there was a lot conversations taking place behind the scenes. IMPD worked with the Detroit Police Department and federal authorities as the case progressed.

FOX59 newsroom staff heard the initial abduction call on the police scanner, but at first officers questioned if the call was a false alarm.

“We wanted to make sure we got the amber alert out there after we verify all the facts, you’re talking about two different jurisdictions, you’re talking about an investigation that initiated in another city so we had to make sure we were not doing anything that was going to interfere with the investigation and make sure those children were safe,” said Hite.

Tuesday afternoon, the teens were placed in the care of CPS until detectives can be sure that they’re no longer in any danger. Investigators in Indianapolis will continue to work with detectives in Detroit and federal agents to investigate the abduction. Police believe the siblings were specifically targeted by their captors.

Whitney Blackwell remains in custody in Indianapolis on a traffic charge, but she could face other criminal charges.

FOX59 has confirmed Blackwell’s relative, Stanley Pernell, was arrested Monday on charges including burglary and resisting law enforcement. Parnell’s address is listed as the same one where the kidnapping took place. The teens’ father, Issac Pernell, talked to FOX59 on Monday and said, “Stan is going to get the money. My son knows where the money is… he’s going to get it and they are going to give me my babies back.”

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