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Mother describes alleged kidnapping of 2-year-old daughter

Tippecanoe County prosecutors have filed charges against the woman accused of kidnapping a two-year-old.

Posted: Jul. 12, 2018 6:54 PM
Updated: Jul. 12, 2018 9:06 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind.-- Tippecanoe County prosecutors have filed charges against the woman accused of kidnapping a two-year-old.

Jessilyn Gardiner is charged with kidnapping, criminal confinement, auto theft and criminal recklessness.

Lafayette police were called to a home on North 10th Street Wednesday night for a report of a child abduction.

Gardiner asked Brooke to drive her to go pick up her child but because she didn't have a valid driver's license, Brooke told her no.

When she refused, Brooke got out of the car and walked around the back to get her 2-year-old daughter out of the back seat.

Gardiner then jumped into the driver's seat and took off with Brooke's daughter and knocking Brooke to the ground.

Prosecutors said Gardiner took off in Stephanie Brooke's vehicle with Brooke's child in the car.

Brooke said she hasn't slept since she witnessed her daughter being taken away. She said she ran after the vehicle until the police showed up at the home.

"I decided that right now this is a bad idea," said Brooke. "It's 9:30 at night, I'm not driving fifty miles away to go and pick up your kid."

She used a nearby neighbor's phone to call the police.

Tippecanoe County Sherriff's deputies received a phone call on South River Road to find Gardiner and Brooke's daughter.

Gardiner told a nearby neighbor she had "done something bad" and there was a child in the stolen car.
Lafayette Police Sergeant Matt Gard said these situations are difficult for everyone.

"That is a tragic, traumatic event for many parties," said Gard. "Between the parents and the children, it doesn't get a whole lot worse than that when it affects a child. We're just very glad it ended up well in this case."

Brooke explained she was thankful for the cooperation of officers and deputies last night and will be moving out of the home by the end of the week.

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