Washington Mom Says Bogus Child Protective Services Workers Tried to Take Her Son

August 21, 2019 Updated: August 21, 2019

A Marysville, Washington, mother told KIRO-TV that a man and a woman posing as Child Protective Services workers came to her home and tried to take her 4-year-old son.

“Said she was with CPS and that she was there about my son’s injuries and that they were to take him into protective custody,” Jessi McCombs told the station, adding that she immediately became suspicious.

McCombs told the station she asked the pair to provide proof of their association with CPS, which they refused to provide.

“My son doesn’t have any injuries, so I was really confused and thought for sure she had the wrong house until she told me his name and birthday, she knew my name,” McCombs told Q13 News.

The disturbing incident took place on the morning of Monday, Aug. 19.

“Anxiety and adrenaline just pretty much took over and I just pretty much wanted to get my son somewhere safe,” McCombs told Q13 News. “I just don’t want somebody else to end up in a situation like that or worse.”

McCombs said she refused to hand over her son, Liam.

“These people were potentially trying to just snatch my kid, so I started panicking,” McCombs told the station, adding that after she pretended to call 911, the woman said the pair would return later. McCombs said they then “left in a hurry down the stairs.”

McCombs said she later called Marysville Police, which confirmed to Q13 News that they were looking into the incident.

“It’s an open and active investigation,” said Mark Thomas from the Marysville Police Department, the station reported. Marysville police told KIRO-TV they have not received any additional reports of bogus CPS workers trying to take children in the city.

A spokesperson for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families said Child Protective Services told KIRO-TV that it does not have any open cases involving McCombs.

The spokesperson added that in cases where a child is to be removed from the home, CPS staff would be accompanied by police and carry agency identification.

McCombs said that another neighbor spotted the same strangers driving around the complex later that day in what looked like an old police car.

McCombs said the pair left in a black Ford Crown Victoria, but she was not able to see a license plate number from her window. She told KIRO-TV that she doesn’t know why someone would pose as a CPS worker to target her son.

Missing Children

There were 424,066 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center in 2018, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement they must be entered into the database. In 2017, there were 464,324 entries.

Reve Walsh and John Walsh speak in Washington on May 18, 2011. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

“This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, that would also be reflected in the total,” the center notes on its website.

“Unfortunately, since many children are never reported missing, there is no reliable way to determine the total number of children who are actually missing in the U.S.,” NCMEC (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children) added.

In 2018, the center said it assisted officers and families with the cases of more than 25,000 missing children. In those cases, 92 percent were endangered runaways, and 4 percent were family abductions.

The center said that it participates in the Amber Alert Program, which is a voluntary partnership between numerous entities including broadcasters, transportation agencies, and law enforcement agencies. The Amber Alert Program issues urgent bulletins in the most serious child abduction cases.

According to the NCMEC, to date, 941 children have been successfully recovered as a result of the Amber Alert Program.

The center notes that of the more than 23,500 runaways reported in 2018, about one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

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