COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus police on Wednesday formally charged the suspect in the kidnapping of twin Columbus children, one of whom remains the focus of an Amber Alert.
Along with the two kidnapping charges, confirmed by Columbus Deputy Police Chief Smith Weir, new details have emerged about the suspect, 24-year-old Nala Tamiko Jackson, including that she has had legal problems involving her own children.
Police are looking for Jackson in connection with the kidnapping of Keir and Casson Thomas. The couple went missing when their mother left her car running while she received a pizza delivery order in the Short North. When the mother looked back, she saw her car driving away with her twins inside. A traveler at the Dayton airport has since found Keir, but police have yet to locate Cason.
Jackson has two children of her own and has been involved in custody cases since 2018, according to Franklin County Municipal Court records sent to NBC4. In his latest case, on October 30, Jackson believed the woman was keeping her son away from her. She continued to call and threaten the woman and her husband, according to the affidavit.
“If you think you’re going to steal my son and take him anywhere, I’m going to kill you, and I mean it,” Jackson said in a voicemail message cited in the case filing.
Jackson has seen charges of menacing and aggravated harassment stem from the case, but it was pending in court records. In the last update, the judge scheduled a preliminary hearing for January 9.
However, in her first case in 2018, the mother was convicted on charges of domestic violence and hooliganism. Those charges were filed in lieu of dismissed charges including assault and child endangerment.
Jackson was indicted on the latest charges after she brought her young daughter to Nationwide Children’s Hospital with a broken tibia. Jackson said her daughter fell out of bed, but doctors concluded that could not have been the cause and that she was on the mend. When hospital staff told her about it, records say Jackson left with her daughter and refused further treatment for the girl’s injury.
While Jackson’s 2018 case was not convicted of child endangerment, another case later in June 2021 was. Court records stated that officers went to the home on a report of a medical emergency, where they found her daughter alone. Officers tried but were unable to get Jackson to open the door and firefighters had to come in to break it open to get inside.
Emergency crews said Jackson did not speak to any of them until they found her in a bedroom at the home. Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of child endangerment and was sentenced in September of that year.
In a separate incident in September 2021, Jackson tried to pick up her two children during a supervised visit at the National Defense Youth Center. She told officers she was walking outside with her children to get food, but then grabbed both children and ran away, according to the case affidavit.
Officers followed Jackson for several blocks from the center before she tried to get into someone’s car and drive off with them. The affidavit states that when the workers warned the driver that he was about to break the law, he forced Jackson and the children out. Jackson was charged with two counts of custodial interference in the case, but a judge dismissed both in January 2022.
The revelations about Jackson’s legal history came with a vigil Wednesday outside Columbus Donatos, where the twin boys disappeared. The group prayed together starting at 10 a.m. for about 30 minutes, hoping for Casson’s return.
While Columbus police received photos of Jackson On Tuesday, and on Wednesday, law enforcement officials who attended the watch shared additional photos of the vehicle, told the group they had no new developments or reports of sightings of the vehicle, Cason or Jackson.
The same message came hours later at a news conference with Columbus police, the FBI and others involved in the massive search of Cason.
While police have released few details of the investigation, they once again asked anyone who knows anything, no matter how small, to contact authorities.
“If you have any information that you believe could be helpful in locating Cason Thomas, Nala Jackson, or even the vehicle, we want to get that information,” said Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant.
According to Columbus Deputy Police Chief Smith Weir, investigators have interviewed Jackson’s ex-boyfriend and checked hotels and apartment complexes along the Interstate 70 and 75 corridors, but so far have not found the child, the suspect or the Accord.
“We would like to speak to Miss Jackson’s family and I think we have had some initial efforts and we are still hoping to get in touch with them,” Weir said.
Bryant said the information has led them to focus on the Dayton area, but she said they are looking at everything and not ruling anything out.
“The obstruction, obviously over time, is a concern for us, so we’re asking and asking anyone with information to come forward so we can find Cason and bring him home,” she said.
Columbus police are asking anyone with information about Jackson to call the Special Victims Bureau at 614-645-4266. The unit also asked anyone who sees Cason, the suspect or the vehicle to call 911 immediately.
Keir and Cason’s mother and father have since been reunited with the first twin, who was found in Dayton, at least an hour’s drive from where the stolen car took off.