Update: Abducted children recovered

Update (1:53 p.m.): The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office announced that authorities safely recovered the children from a Suwannee County motel. Deputies took Sydni Jones and David Evans into custody without incident, according to a press release. 

“We are very grateful for the outcome of this case,” Sheriff Mark Hunter said in a statement. “I would like to commend our team of detectives, along with the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office, FDLE, federal law enforcement partners, and local community for helping to bring this case to a quick and safe conclusion.”

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Area phones beeped Thursday morning as the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office sent out an Amber Alert for two Lake City children who were abducted Wednesday evening.

The children, 4-year-old Jaxson Evans and 2-year-old Lucy Evans, were last seen in the 200 block of South Birch Place in Lake City, according to the sheriff’s office. Spokesman Steven Khachigan said they were at the home of a family member when the biological parents took them. 

“There was a court order that removed custody from the biological parents and placed custody with another family member,” Khachigan said. “The biological mother had been living at the location of the family where the children had been placed.”

According to Khachigan, a Wednesday court order said the mother, 23-year-old Sydni Jones, could no longer live at the home. Hours later, the biological father, 24-year-old David Evans, came and helped Jones surreptitiously remove the children around 5:15 p.m. 

Jaxson and Lucy Evans

Evans was last seen wearing a blue shirt with tan pants, while Jones was last seen wearing a black shirt and denim pants. 

Khachigan said only the court could disclose why the parents lost custody, but it’s possible the children are in danger. 

“You’d like to think a biological parent would not harm their child, but we’re certainly concerned given that custody was taken from the biological parents,” he said. “Obviously the court’s found cause to remove the children from the parents’ custody.”

Khachigan said the sheriff’s office has no information on the family’s whereabouts, but detectives have received tips and are actively following up on each one. 

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information to contact detectives at (386)752-7015.

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