China Grove woman found with son she abducted in McDowell County

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A China Grove woman wanted for abducting her 3-year-old son was found hiding with the child in McDowell County Saturday.
The McDowell County Sheriff’s Office received a tip about Kesha Nicole Bender, 22, and her son, Dakota Ray Bender, and called Rowan County investigators to get more information, according to a Rowan County Sheriff’s Office press release.
After getting information on the mother and son, McDowell deputies went to a home and found the pair.
Dakota’s father, Edwin Bender, drove to McDowell County to get his son, and Deputy Clint Mauldin, lead investigator in the case arranged to bring Kesha Bender back.
A Rowan County deputy went to McDowell, served warrants on Kesha Bender and returned her to the Rowan County Detention Center.
Bender, of 236 Homer Corriher Road, China Grove, is charged with child abduction, and after posting $5,000 bond, she was released by Saturday evening, the press release said.
Investigators say Edwin Bender has full custody of his son, and they live in Bellington, W.Va.
The father contacted the Sheriff’s Office Thursday and said he had brought his son to China Grove earlier this month to see his mother.
“It was at his (Edwin Bender’s) discretion as to what amount of contact the child would have with the mother,” Rowan authorities have said. “At the time of the abduction, the mother had no parental rights or custody and would not be granted any until she completed parenting classes with an outcome satisfactory to the family court judge” in West Virginia.
The mother actually disappeared with her son on Aug. 2. “Edwin met Kesha at Keith’s Auto Sales in China Grove, and while he was inside the business with Kesha’s aunt, Kesha sped off with the child in the 2000 GMC Yukon with N.C. license tag of NVN9227,” Rowan investigators said.
Officials entered Kesha Bender’s name and her vehicle in a national law enforcement data base, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had agreed to assist in the searching. Investigators thought Kesha Bender might have headed for Texas.