Missing Child Found Locked in Attic Crawlspace with Mother

Missing Child Found Locked in Attic Crawlspace with Mother January 12, 2019

A six-year-old boy missing since August was found alive and hidden in an attic in Laclede County, Missouri. After locating the child in the locked crawl space, police arrested his mother Aubrey Fergusen for felony child abduction.

Braedence Jones never returned to his father’s home after spending time with his mother in August. His parents, Aubrey Fergusen and Ryan Jones, share custody of him. Braedence lives with his father, Ryan.

After Fergusen failed to return Braedence on August 3, 2018, Ryan reported his son missing. Fergusen and her son went on the run.

While on the run for more than five months, Fergusen kept company with a convicted felon, Woodrow Allen Ziegler. According to a court order, Ziegler was prohibited from being in contact with Braedence.

Authorities received multiple reported sightings of Ferguson between August and January.  However, police failed to locate the child after the sightings.

By October, a judge issued a warrant for Ferguson’s arrest. An endangered person’s advisory was issued for Braedence because of his exposure to Ziegler.

Around this time there someone reported seeing Ferguson and Ziegler in Iberia, Missouri. Despite the tip, police did not find the couple.

In early December, an activist for missing and exploited children, Donna McIntyre helped the Jones family set up a Facebook page called “Help Bring Braedence Home.”

McIntyre regularly posted on the page to keep Braedence’s name in the news. She urged family members to turn Ferguson in. Additionally, she reminded followers that Ferguson’s companion, Woodrow Ziegler was a known drug user.

As Fergusen continued to elude authorities, Camden County Sherriff’s Office added Ferguson to their most wanted list. Authorities also listed Braedence as missing in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database.

On January 8, 2019, police officers acted on a tip they received fromUnited States Marshals Service Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force. Police executed a search warrant on a home in Laclede County, Missouri.

When officers arrived, they found Braedence and Fergusen in an attic crawl space. Ziegler shut the crawl space opening by nailing the door shut and hiding the door with carpet.

Immediately after finding Braedence, police arrested Fergusen, Ziegler, and one other person in connection with Braedence’s abduction. Fergusen is now in custody facing charges of felony child abduction and on a warrant for failure to appear in court.

Later that evening, Breanne Marie Dominguez, Ryan Jones’ girlfriend shared a photo of Braedence reuniting with his father. She said,

“OUR LITTLE BOY IS HOME. GOD IS SOOOO GOOD!!!! Thank you all for the prayers, shared, phone calls and etc. we don’t know how to thank everyone enough. Our hearts are so full of joy atm. Just thank you everyone…”

Dominguez posted another update thanking authorities for their hard work in locating Braedence.

Finally, after five months, Braedence is home safely with his father. There is no telling what the child went through while on the run with his mother. He will likely need therapy and extra care to deal with the trauma he experienced.

Felony child abduction is a class A felony in Missouri. If convicted on the charges, Ferguson faces a sentence of 10 to 30 years in prison.


*Katie Joy is a blogger and freelance writer. Her work is featured on Upworthy, Huffington Post, Yahoo Parents, Mamamia, Daily Beast, Cafe Stir, Newsweek, Jezebel, and The Daily Mail. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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  • I’m very glad Braedence was recovered, and that the people who stole him will be held accountable. Determined, dedicated action by any number of concerned, compassionate humans got that boy home. MANY thanks to the people who made his safe return possible. They’re the real MVPs here. Thanks for writing this up–it’s good to hear of a child found safe.


    This grinds my gears so hard. I can’t even imagine the horror and heartbreak of missing a child, but I can easily imagine that if I did, I’d feel about it much the same way I feel about Christians claiming a god magically healed someone of cancer. “Jesus” didn’t move his ass a single inch on this one — or on any other serious need that erupts. Maybe he was too busy finding other Christians’ car keys, healing a Christian bride’s acne before the big day, or helping an extra $50 magic its way into some Christians’ bank account so they could totally go out for dinner on Date Night (those are all real examples). Maybe he blew his mana 2000 years ago. Whatever this god’s holdup might be, if someone’s in need, we can only count on ourselves.

    (And that’s actually a good thing. In this case, “Jesus” let Braedence suffer HOW many months before deciding it was finally time to get him back to his father? HOW many risks did “Jesus” allow this little boy to endure? HOW much abuse did this weirdo “Faces of Meth” mother of his and her druggie boyfriend inflict on him? WHAT kind of stress did “Jesus” not mind inflicting on him? If “Jesus” had anything at all to do with Braedence’s safe return, then he’d sure have a lot to explain. I think it’s amazing that Christians will thank their god for helping them survive a terrible car crash, but never wonder why their god was okay with them getting into that car crash to begin with. Does he just like the make-up nookie?)

  • Banrion

    My experience with maternal kidnapping in Missouri is not a good one. I’ll cross my fingers that this was egregious enough to have parental rights terminated, but I don’t think it is a definite. The kidnapper in my family was never held accountable in any way other than being forced to bring the kids back from out of state.