2 Missouri Children Found Inside Florida Supermarket With 36-Year-Old Woman, Who Abducted Them One Year Ago

A Missouri family is receiving the best news possible roughly one year after their children – an 11-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son – were abducted by their non-custodial mother. The children were last seen on March 15, 2022, and have been missing ever since, but will now be reunited with their birth family. 

The High Springs Police Department (HSPD) found the children in a Winn Dixie grocery store in Florida, nearly 1,000 miles away from their original home. The HSPD made the announcement on February 2nd in a Facebook update and identified 36-year-old Kristi Nicole Gilley as their non-custodial mother and their abductor.

Brooke Gilley, 11, and Adrian Gilley, 12, were in disguise while inside the grocery store. Kristi Nicole, who had an active kidnapping warrant filed for her arrest in July 2022, was detained and arrested after a routine vehicle tag check revealed she was a fugitive. It didn’t take long for the HSPD to locate the kids.

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According to the Facebook update, the HSPD had been working with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in hopes of bringing both children home promptly and safely. While it took longer than they would’ve liked, they’re happy to announce both children are safe and finally out of harm’s way. 

The HSPD also announced that the children were handed over to the Florida Department of Children and Families Services, which began the process of reuniting the children with their birth family – who haven’t seen them in roughly 11 months. It’s a happy ending to what started out as a family’s worst nightmare. 

According to court records, Kristi Nicole Gilley was still sitting in jail as of Sunday, and while her court-appointed lawyer was reached out to by several outlets, no statement has been made by either party. It is not known whether the abductor will plead guilty or not guilty, but it likely won’t matter. 

Missouri Experiences Thousands of Missing Persons Every Year

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, more than 10,000 people are reported missing every year. In 2022, more than 3,630 adults and 7,701 juveniles were reported missing in the state of Missouri. Of those missing, 157 adults and 312 kids remained missing by year’s end, including Brooke and Adrian.

While those numbers aren’t as scary as in 2019 – when 3,967 adults and 8,043 juveniles were reported missing – they are an increase from the two years prior. The state of Missouri had 3,881 adults, and 7,114 children reported missing in 2021, and 3,735 adults and 6,895 juveniles reported missing in 2020. 

That brings us to 2023, which has already added 265 adults and 765 juveniles as reported missing – 47 adults and 158 juveniles remain missing as of February 6. There are also a total of 674 juveniles actively missing in Missouri, dating back to 1953 (when statistical reporting began) – an increase of 470 since 2021. 

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While Brooke and Adrian Gilley have been found and are now safe, there are hundreds of other juveniles and adults that have yet to be found – some of which were reported missing this year. Police officers and other related departments will continue their search for any and all missing persons – they won’t give up.

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