AUSTIN (KXAN) — The mother of a 1-year-old child who was at the center of an Austin-based Amber Alert Wednesday is facing three felony charges. One of the charges is related to the Amber Alert, while the other two are related to events from a week before.
According to affidavits, Jessica Skelton, 22, faces charges of interference with child custody, burglary of a residence and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
An attorney representing Skelton wasn’t listed at the time of publication.
Interference of child custody
On Aug. 24, an APD officer responded to a home in southwest Austin after Skelton’s family members reported a 1-year-old child was missing around 7:30 that morning. A family member told police the last time they saw the child was 8 p.m. the night before when they put the child to sleep in her room.
According to an affidavit, two window screens had been removed from the home. The family member showed police where some property had been knocked out of one of the windows. There were no other signs of forced entry, and nothing else was missing from the house other than the child, the affidavit said.
The family member said she suspected Skelton, the biological mother of the child, was directly involved because of “recent erratic behavior.”
The family member had previously been given custody of the child by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
When the child was reported missing the morning of Aug. 24, authorities couldn’t find Skelton and didn’t know if she took the child. Since there was no confirmation, an Amber Alert was issued, the affidavit said.
APD located Skelton and the child around 6 p.m., and Skelton admitted to entering the family member’s house and taking the child. She was arrested on outstanding warrants.
Since Skelton did not have custody of the child, and was not allowed to take the child, she was charged with interference of child custody, the affidavit said.
Burglary of a residence, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle
On Aug. 16, an Austin Police Department officer responded to an auto theft call at the same home where the child lived.
According to an affidavit, the victim said Skelton called the day before saying she had been kicked out of the sober living home she was in, and asked if she could come stay with family members. The family declined on the basis that a court ordered Skelton could not be with her kids, whom the family members had custody of at the time.
The family member told police they went to sleep then, at around 3 a.m., woke up to their dogs barking. Then at 4 a.m., the family member woke again to someone knocking at the front door. The victim answered it to people outside who said they were dropping of Skelton, saying she had been in a wreck and requested a ride to the family member’s house.
After getting Skelton out of the car, the family member told police they called EMS to take her to a hospital, noting that she seemed intoxicated and was not responsive, the affidavit said.
The family member said they found the keys to their Mazda in Skelton’s bag, the affidavit said.
APD’s investigation revealed the car had been impounded after being involved in a collision and then abandoned.
The family member told police they had custody of Skelton’s two children, that Skelton hadn’t lived at their residence in over two years, and that she wasn’t allowed there unless for a scheduled visitation. The family member told police they believed she entered the home around 3 a.m. through the back door, took the car keys, then drove the car until she wrecked, the affidavit said.
Skelton was charged with burglary of a residence after being accused of stealing the car keys, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle after being accused of stealing the family member’s car, the affidavit said.