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Mansfield Magazine

Mansfield ISD Officer Helps Track Down Missing Children

Jan 05, 2015 11:04AM ● Published by Kevin

MISD Police Officer Stephen St. Clair. Photo courtesy of MISD.

Earlier in 2014, administrators at Mansfield ISD feared the well-being of two students, who had missed several days of school. According to Mansfield ISD police, the students, new to the district, never really attended school upon their arrival. The fear became a reality at the end of a business day, and the search began.

According to Terry Morawski, assistant superintendent of strategic initiatives, an attorney who was helping the students' father recover them contacted Morawski asking for help. He passed on the information to district police.

“Our district police department’s commitment and dedication in investigating the situation really impressed me," he said. "I felt like the experience of getting updates from them on the investigation was a great reminder of the amazing people I have the privilege to work with every day."

The reports were filtered down to district officer Stephen St. Clair, who said the students were missing for about a year, and that authorities in Albuquerque, N.M., were looking for them at the time. St. Clair went on to say the children were taken out of state illegally by the non-custodial parent.

St. Clair's expertise in law enforcement spans 24 years, with his most recent stint being with the Dallas Police Department. He's been with the school district for almost three years. He said his many years in service helped him greatly.

"It allowed me to know how to talk to people, and get information and trust, in order to get the information I needed to locate the children," he said.

St. Clair reported he was able to locate the neighborhood in which the children were last seen. He contacted neighbors and residents of the community, who provided contacts of people who had dealt with the suspects and the children. St. Clair said finding the missing students quickly was of the utmost importance.

"These children were not living in desirable conditions," he said. "They had been moving state to state. Also, they were not attending school and not allowed in the front yard."

In the end he was able to track them down and return them to their father.

"Child abduction cases like that where kids are taken without permission are hard to solve," St. Clair said. "It involves children, and the parents don’t want them to be found. It can be very difficult with those kind of people and trying to find them."

The results of the case were obviously a relief to all.

"As the father of two boys, the story really got to me," Morawski said. "When I received a text from our police chief that the [students] had been found and returned to their father, it was a truly wonderful feeling to know the story had a happy ending."

St. Clair offered advice to area residents to help prevent cases like this in the future.

"Of course follow legal advice and instruction," St. Clair said. "Take good care of your children. If possible, maintain a cordial relationship with ex-husbands and ex-wives, too."

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