Woman pleads guilty to kidnapping 5-month-old twins; 1 boy found at Dayton airport

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

A Columbus woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to kidnapping 5-month-old twin boys just over a year ago, one found on a frigid December morning in the economy lot at the Dayton International Airport.

Nalah T. Jackson, 25, pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnapping a minor, with a recommended sentence of 20 years in prison, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker for the Southern District of Ohio.

“There is no greater responsibility than protecting our youth,” Parker said. “This community watched in horror as Nalah Jackson preyed on two vulnerable babies. Today, she admitted her crime and agreed to spend 20 years in prison for her actions.”

Between Dec. 19 and Dec. 22, 2022, Jackson kidnapped the two infants and traveled the interstate with one of them, according to her indictment.

The babies, Kason and Ky’air Thomas, were inside a 2010 Honda Accord stolen while their mother, Wilhemina Barnett, left the car running while she went inside a pizza place to pick up a DoorDash order.

A passenger at the Dayton International Airport found Ky’air strapped inside his car seat outside in the economy lot nearly six hours later, around 4:15 a.m. Dec. 20.

Jackson arrived at a Papa Johns Pizza around 8 a.m. Dec. 20 in Indianapolis. She got out of the stolen Accord and never returned, leaving Kason strapped in his car seat in the back of the car with no heat for the next two-and-a-half days in below freezing weather conditions.

An Indianapolis woman encountered Jackson selling items outside a local gas station. When she saw media reports and realized who Jackson was, she and her cousin came up with a plan to meet up with Jackson to confirm her identity, recover the infant and lead law enforcement to Jackson, according to the U.S. Attorney’s statement.

One woman eventually directed police to their vehicle over the phone by pretending to talk to her boyfriend, and Jackson was arrested on Dec. 22. The two women then continued to search for the baby, focusing on a bus route near the university district, after finding a bus schedule Jackson left behind in the back seat, the release stated.

With driving conditions quickly worsening due to a snowstorm, the women decided to get something to eat before heading home. In the shopping center that contains Papa Johns, they spotted the stolen Accord and found the baby inside.

Parked nearby was an empty Indianapolis police cruiser, and they found the officers on their lunch break. The baby shortly after was taken by authorities to a local hospital, where he was treated for dehydration, heart abnormalities due to dehydration, extreme diaper rash and skin deterioration. Kason spent a few days at a children’s hospital but was released in time for Christmas to his family and reunited with his twin brother.

One of the abducted twins, Ky’air Thomas, later died Jan. 28 at 6 months old after he was placed on an adult bed. The Franklin County Coroner ruled the official cause of death as “sudden unexplained infant death with other significant conditions.”

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