PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Two children, a two-year-old boy, and a one-year-old girl, have been found safe after being taken across the country. Adalyn Jean Burkett, 18, from Callaway, and Marquan L. Edwards, 22, from Milwaukee, are now in custody for the abduction.
The incident began when the children’s mother contacted the Bay County Sheriff’s Office on June 24, reporting that her children and car had been taken out of state by a woman she considered a friend.
According to the mother, she had been with Burkett the previous night in Callaway and had entrusted her with babysitting the children overnight. She had also given Burkett permission to use her car, expecting it to be returned the following morning.
However, when the mother contacted Burkett, she discovered that Burkett and the children were no longer in the state. The BCSO Criminal Investigations unit was alerted, and efforts to locate the children commenced.
It was determined that Burkett was accompanied by Edwards and that they had fled from Panama City to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the mother’s vehicle.
The investigation confirmed the presence of Burkett and Edwards in Milwaukee. An arrest warrant was issued for Burkett on the evening of June 24, charging her with interference with child custody and grand theft of an automobile. This information was shared with the Milwaukee Police Department as the search expanded to Wisconsin.
On June 25, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a Missing Child Alert for the two-year-old boy, DeKarsen Middleton, and the one-year-old girl, Delyla Middleton.
Meanwhile, Burkett and Edwards left both children alone in a public park in Milwaukee, as they attempted to distance themselves from the investigation. The children were found that same evening by the Milwaukee PD and taken to the police station.
An arrest warrant was subsequently issued for Edwards, charging him with being an accomplice in the interference with child custody.
On June 26, Burkett and Edwards were located and arrested at a residence in Milwaukee by the United States Marshal Service. The local police department is currently investigating the couple for leaving the children unattended in the park.