Two Indianapolis cousins worked together to help police find the homeless woman who kidnapped two Ohio infants.
Nalah Jackson was discovered almost 200 miles from where she took Kason Thomas after asking a woman to buy stolen toys and being driven around to various stores in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis native Shyann Delmar never thought she would be a part of the headline-grabbing child abduction search. However, a chance encounter with a woman hustling toys at a gas station on Tuesday, Dec. 20, not only tipped off authorities to the suspect wanted for kidnapping Kason but gave his worried family a Christmas miracle right before the holiday.
Kason was one of two twins snatched in a Columbus, Ohio, car theft. The twins were strapped in car seats in the back of their mother’s running car while she was completing a Door Dash order on Monday, Dec. 19, around 9:45 p.m. While the mother was in a local restaurant for a pickup, Jackson hopped in the car and drove off.
Hours later, an Amber Alert was issued, and authorities identified Jackson as the person who took the infants.
The next day, almost three hours after the Amber Alert was issued, Kyair Thomas, one of the brothers, was located in the Dayton International Airport parking lot.
However, the other child was still missing, prompting Columbus police on Wednesday, Dec. 21, to issue an alert for the five states surrounding Ohio, including Indiana. By Thursday, officials announced Jackson’s arrest but did not share how they located the woman.
That’s where Delmar and her cousin Mecka Curry enter the story.
Delmar told the Indystar she met Jackson at a northwest Indianapolis gas station Tuesday, where she sold her toys. She and her cousin also detailed the adventure with the suspect on TikTok.
At one point during the encounter, Jackson introduced herself as “Mae,” shared her phone number, and asked her new customer for a ride to the “hood to buy crack.”
Delmar said she didn’t know where to buy the drugs but ultimately agreed to take her to a Family Dollar.
After being dropped off, “Mae” pulled her pants down and started to urinate in public. Demar pulled out her cellphone and recorded only a snippet of the incident, shocked at how erratic the woman was behaving.
The next day, she noticed the woman in her video looked like a woman whose face was plastered on Facebook. After comparing the video in her phone with the circulated mugshot of Jackson, Delmar said she noticed that the woman’s nose and hairstyle were the same. She then asked her family and friends if they saw the same similarities.
“I wanted just to verify it before I got her locked up,” Delmar said.
One person who was certain they were the same person was Delmar’s cousin, Curry. Curry found a video on YouTube of the woman from a previous case threatening to kill her children’s father and asked Delmar to compare the voices of “Jackson” from the video and “Mae” from her car. It was a match.
At this point, Curry contacted the detective listed in articles about the kidnapping. However, authorities told the cousins they needed more information, the women said on TikTok.
The two hairstylists canceled their appointments for the day and were bent on finding Mae.
Delmar called Mae and tried to solicit her to buy more toys.
Mae did not immediately call back, but she returned the call on Thursday and arranged to meet up with Delmar. By this time, she and Curry devised a plan to trap the woman and arrange for authorities to detain the suspect.
The cousins planned to taxi around the woman, who told them she was high on Percocet and pregnant with the intention of calling the police so that they could arrest her. Their concern was anonymity, believing they could report her and not be traced as the people who set her up.
However, the plan was thwarted when the Columbus police told them to call the FBI and the local Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. The Indiana department did not understand they were trying to turn in a wanted baby kidnapper.
Curry says an IMPD officer asked her, “Well, what y’all want me to do?”
In frustration, they hung up on the dispatchers and tried to take Mae to other stores, hoping she would shoplift and be picked up by store security guards. The plan became more elaborate because they feared simply taking the woman to the police station would cause her to run away from them.
At one point, someone called Delmar’s phone from where Mae was staying and asked if “Nayla” was with her.
“This was the final confirmation we needed,” said Delmar on TikTok before Curry added, “This is how we knew it was her.”
While going from store to store, Curry kept in contact with detectives and fed them details of their whereabouts, hoping to create the best time for them to detain their suspect.
Finally, while in the car and driving on the highway, the police called while the woman was in the vehicle with the cousins. Curry pretended to be speaking to her fiancé and indicated to authorities they were driving on I-65 south.
The officers located their car, pulled them over for a “traffic stop,” and acted as if they were sweeping the car, checking to see if a violation had been made. The woman started to cover her face with children’s clothing and tried to hide in the backseat of the car.
The arresting police officer was going back and forth on what to do about this woman, not immediately connecting her to the Columbus baby-snatcher. However, Curry surreptitiously slipped the cop a screenshot of the suspect’s mugshot, and the police were able to positively identify her and take her into custody at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22.
In an email to Curry on Thursday at 3:33 p.m., the investigator on the case said of their swift thinking, “Because of your help, we are so much closer to finding that baby.”
Before an official announcement, Curry took to her social media and posted on Facebook: “SHE IS IN CUSTODY AND THE BABY IS NOT FOUND.”
The cousins said they contacted the family to alert them that the woman was taken into custody.
The cousins then turned their attention to helping the police find the babies. They noticed Mae had left a bus schedule in the back seat of the car.
Delmar and Curry did their best Nancy Drew work and deduced since the car Mae was accused of stealing was still missing, they would trace the bus route and try to find the missing Honda. They were hoping the car would still be en route and look specifically for cars with snow on them. They believed that might be a clue suggesting the car had not been moved in a few days.
The first stops were unsuccessful, but right before they were going to abandon their plan, the women decided to stop in a shopping plaza. While there, they saw the car with no plates near the Papa John’s restaurant covered in snow.
Curry said as soon as she ran to the vehicle, she immediately saw Kason’s legs dangling from the back seat and his face in the rearview mirror. However, they heard no sound.
The car was locked, but quickly thinking Delmar ran into another pizza shop and told two officers she believed she found the missing child on the news.
The cousins were on the phone with the father when the child was rescued. Curry said, “We were so excited the baby was found. So joyous.”
At 6:40 p.m., the officers said on their radio, “We’ve been alerted that the missing child may be located over here at the vehicle at 10th and Indiana.”
The child was alive. The next correspondence on the police radio said, “We have custody of the child that’s missing.” Curry said, “At that point, we didn’t believe we really did this. We really did the unthinkable.”