STAFFORD COUNTY

Virginia Mother Accused of Kidnapping Her Kids Caught in Indiana

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A Virginia woman accused of abducting her four children in June was arrested Wednesday morning in Indiana, according to the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.

Stafford County detectives and members of the U.S. Marshals Service found 34-year-old Melody Bannister; her three daughters, ages 13, 12 and 11; and her 7-year-old son about 2:30 a.m. in a car at a gas station in Plainfield, about 20 miles west of Indianapolis, the sheriff’s office said.

“You’ve waited for this moment; you’ve prayed for this moment,” said Bill Bannister, who is driving to Indiana to be reunited with his kids.

“What do you say? Where do you start?” he said. “There’s so much to say, so much to cover, but the first thing is, ‘I love you.’”

Melody Bannister left with the kids after making unfounded accusations against her husband and his family, the sheriff’s office said. She was ordered to return the children, but she kept running.

She’s in custody on multiple misdemeanor charges, including parental child abduction, and a felony charge of violation of a court order.

“There’s a new balance in the house,” Bill Bannister said. “I used to have a wife that was there as a partner with me to help with the kids, the homework and their day-to-day, and it’s only me now.”

Melody Bannister will be extradited back to Stafford County.

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