Amber Alert for Cleveland Heights children canceled; parents accused of selling food stamps for drug money
It was one of the largest Amber Alerts ever to be issued
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Five children were taken by their parents on Thursday in Cleveland Heights, which triggered an Amber Alert just after midnight on Friday.
Around 2:20 a.m., the Cuyahoga County Department of Public Safety and Justice Services issued an update stating all five children were found safe and returned to their grandfather.
The children were then turned over to the Cleveland Heights Police Department.
Officials said their mother, Ebony Boxley, was taken into custody.
Chief Annette Mecklenburg, of the Cleveland Heights Police Department, said the whereabouts of the children’s father, identified as Cory Boxley, is not known at this time.
Cory and Ebony Boxley took off after they learned Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services case workers were coming to take custody of the children, according to the Cuyahoga County Department of Public Safety and Justice Services.
A Cleveland Heights police report states the parents were reported to Children and Family Services for neglecting the educational, medical, and nutritional needs of the children. They are 3, 5, 9, 10 and 15 years old.
The mother posted several YouTube videos of them in a house and vehicle talking to the kids. The videos were posted around 2 a.m. in December 2019.
The family was last seen at their home at 3288 Beechwood Ave. Authorities were looking for the children in a tan 2006 Dodge Caravan with license plate number J553273.
The parents are known drug users, according to authorities.
Investigators believe the Boxleys were collecting food stamps, but then selling them for money so they could purchase more drugs.
Cleveland Heights police said the parents had approximately eight prior referrals to child services dating back to 2015.
A court previously ordered Child and Family Services’ supervision over the five kids, but that ruling was later terminated when the Boxleys fled from Ohio, investigators said.
Cleveland Heights police said Ebony Boxley was booked on a felony investigation. Her van that was used to transport the children was impounded.
John Majoy, Director of Cuyahoga Emergency Communication System said when issuing an Amber Alert, time is of the essence. “One of the key takeaways is the preparedness of Cleveland Heights Police Department. The importance [of the system] is unparalleled to anything so the purpose is bigger then anything than anything in the entire system,” he said.
While Cordero Boxley’s location is unknown, Cleveland Heights police said they are determining how to process with him.
The incident is still under investigation.
Return to 19 News for continuing developments.
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