Grandmother: 2 children doing ‘remarkably well' after kidnapping

Grandparents say suspect was children's neighbor when they lived in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the FBI has taken the lead on the investigation into a truck driver from Jacksonville accused of kidnapping two children who was arrested in northern Arizona, the children's grandmother opened up to News4Jax about what happened.

Winslow police said Marshall Pendergrass, 47, was taken into custody Saturday and is facing federal charges, and the boy and girl are both safe.

Winslow authorities were contacted by police in Belton, Texas, about a 14-year-old girl and her 12-year-old brother who were reported missing Friday. Winslow police said the two were found in the sleeper cab of semitruck parked 75 miles east of Flagstaff the next day.

On Tuesday, News4Jax spoke with the children's grandmother who lives in Jacksonville. She is extremely upset about what happened, but said the children are doing "remarkably well."

Police in Texas told News4Jax Pendergrass knew the children. Their grandparents said he was their neighbor when they lived in the Jacksonville area. 


Officers in Belton, Texas, said they first thought the children were runaways, but then got information about Pendergrass and tracked him to northern Arizona, where authorities arrested him and found the siblings. News4Jax was told they did not have their phones with them, but Pendergrass had his and that's how authorities found him. 

The siblings' family members said they are thankful the children are safe.

Pendergrass was jailed pending federal charges because the children were taken across state lines,

The FBI is the lead investigative agency on the case because the children were taken across state lines.

As of Tuesday evening, Pendergrass was being held in the Coconino County jail in Flagstaff, Arizona, on the U.S. marshals hold. 

Marshall Pendergrass
Marshall Pendergrass

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