A Texas woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for kidnapping her two granddaughters earlier this year.
Jame Burns was accused of abducting the two children from a scheduled Child Protective Services visit at a Cici’s restaurant in McKinney on January 19. She pleaded guilty on July 26, WFAA reported.
Her son, Justin Burns, a non-custodial parent, was also charged with kidnapping for his alleged role in the crime and is still awaiting trial. The girls, Jennifer, age 6, and Jessica, age 9, were later found safe in nearby Richardson.
Jame and Justin Burns met with the girls at the restaurant, and toward the end of the session, she grabbed the children and ran out the door, according to Newsbreak.
Police indicated that Jame had been charged with previous drug crimes and endangering her grandchildren. In September of 2021, Jame was arrested after the police were called for a “possible disturbance involving methamphetamines” at the home she shared with her granddaughters and son.
She tried to flee with the children, and when the police pulled her over, they found methamphetamines in the passenger floorboard, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Justin’s on-and-off-again girlfriend, Jessica McClelland, previously stated that Justin had no idea where the girls were and was adamant that he was not involved in their kidnapping. She claims that he believed he would soon gain custody of the children and that kidnapping them at this point would be reckless.
In Dallas, reliable, up-to-date statistics on kidnapping are still unavailable on the City’s Open Data crime analytics dashboard due to the ransomware attack on City servers in May. The City has resumed publication of Compstat Daily Crime Briefings, but the report does not include data on kidnappings.
However, the daily report does reflect that murders in the city of Dallas are up more than 9% compared to last year. There have been 153 homicides in Dallas so far in 2023, compared to 140 over the same period the previous year.
Other cities in Texas, including Fort Worth, have implemented dedicated units to patrol their downtown areas and have seen significant drops in the rate of offenses since implementation.
A shortage of police officers is hampering efforts to combat crime in Dallas. A recent City analysis found that the Dallas Police Department is about 900 officers short of the 4,000 needed for a city of its size.