Police say a witness kick-started a child abuse case - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Police say a witness kick-started a child abuse case

Posted:

Being in the right place at the right time can make a huge difference. A Benton Harbor couple is in court Monday for child abuse charges after a witness helped kick start an investigation. The witness, Clare DeHann, says she did what she hopes anyone would do, picked up the phone and alerted police.

It was early August when DeHann stopped by Henry's Hamburgers in Benton Harbor to grab a bite. That's when she noticed a woman and two young children. "Very cute, they were dirty, they had no shoes on, they had dirty clothes on."

DeHann says she was heading to her vehicle when the woman approached her with a sexual proposition. When DeHann declined the woman had another question. "She goes 'Do you like children?'"

DeHann says she was disgusted by what she appeared to be offering and started yelling at the woman. That's when a van came around the corner and the three got in. "She scooped up the kids and threw them into the car and they were kicking and screaming and they drove away."

DeHann says she immediately called the police. "I was feeling very helpless."

Shortly after the incident at Henry's Hamburgers, the woman, Josephine Morrow and her boyfriend, Mathew Weidler were arrested and charged with child abuse. Police don't believe they were sincerely trying to sell the children, but DeHann's call was valuable.

"As a result, it lead us in the direction where we came in contact with the parent of the child and there were some issues, not necessarily what she initially thought," says Benton Charter Township Police Chief Vince Fetke.

He says DeHann's testimony isn't the basis of this case against Weidler and Morrow, but it did lead to an investigation and Morrow's children were turned over to Child Protective Services. Something DeHan was relieved to hear. "I was very happy, very happy."

And Chief Fetke says DeHann did exactly what he hopes the rest of the public would do. "Without the help of the citizens, many times we don't have the leads that assist us in solving crimes. "

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Timeline of violence in South Bend

    Timeline of violence in South Bend

    Seven people have been killed in South Bend since the beginning of this year.  They aren't just another statistic, though.  They are people that have real families who are suffering.  The first victimMore >>
    Seven people have been killed in South Bend since the beginning of this year.  They aren't just another statistic, though.  They are people that have real families who are suffering.  The first victimMore >>
  • Woman killed in Indiana church parking lot

    Woman killed in Indiana church parking lot

    Police say a Northwest Indiana man shot his estranged wife in front of the couple's son Monday. It happened in a church parking lot in Griffith, Indiana. That's Southwest of Gary in Lake County. The coroner there has identified the victim as Nina Castro.More >>
    Police say a Northwest Indiana man shot his estranged wife in front of the couple's son Monday. It happened in a church parking lot in Griffith, Indiana. That's Southwest of Gary in Lake County. The coroner there has identified the victim as Nina Castro.
    More >>
  • Multiple departments called in for late night house fire

    Multiple departments called in for late night house fire

    Clay Township fire crews called in multiple crews to battle a late night house fire. It happened Tuesday night around 11:15 p.m. on Pam Dr.Dispatchers say by 2:15 a.m. Wednesday morning, the fire was mostly clear with just one crew on the scene to watch for hotspots.More >>
    Clay Township fire crews called in multiple crews to battle a late night house fire. It happened Tuesday night around 11:15 p.m. on Pam Dr.Dispatchers say by 2:15 a.m. Wednesday morning, the fire was mostly clear with just one crew on the scene to watch for hotspots.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.