TACOMA, Wash. - Two children who were allegedly taken by their mother against a court order were found safe Friday morning at their grandmother's house, according to Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Detective Ed Troyer. Their mother was arrested on suspicion of custodial interference.
Authorities in Pierce County received a missing-persons call for Jayden A. Rougutt, 6, and Lexi J. Rougutt, 4, at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Police said their mother, Temeka M. Rougutt, 38, unlawfully took her two children against court order. She does not have custody of them and is not supposed to be alone with them unsupervised, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.
Police said that Temeka's family was concerned because the woman may have been off her prescribed medication. There are several posts about being on medication on her Facebook profile, but she hasn't posted since Wednesday.
Tameka's mother told police she was worried about her daughter's mental health and said that she had seemed "off" lately. She has also made threats of suicide in the past.
The Sheriff’s Office said the case was a custodial dispute that didn’t meet the criteria for an Amber Alert.
Temeka Rougutt is in the Pierce County jail.
The children’s grandfather Lloyd was shaken by the disappearance of his grandchildren. He said he was watching them play in the rain Thursday night when he went back inside to answer the phone. When he returned moments later, the children were gone. He was worried that their mother was off her bipolar medication.
“You can’t believe what bipolar people (do),” he said. Then he added, “I feel sorry for her. I feel sad. I’m just relieved that she didn’t hurt the kids.”
“They’re fine. To them, they had a big adventure,” said their great aunt Nancy Rougutt.
Nancy Rougutt said it was frustrating that after hours of searching, law-enforcement officials didn’t issue an Amber Alert.
“It was extremely frustrating. It felt like the police were here for four to six hours and busting their backs doing everything to help us, then came and said sorry we can’t do an Amber Alert so we’re done now,” she said.