Update: Mother and child could be in Texas

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has released additional information about a missing 3-year-old.
Dakota Ray Bender, 3, is believed to with his mother, Kesha Nicole Bender, 22, possibly in Texas.
On Thursday, Investigator Clint Mauldin took a report that a child had been abducted on Aug. 2.
Dakota Bender’s father, Edwin Bender, brought the child from West Virginia to North Carolina to allow the mother to see the child. Edwin Bender had been given full custody and “it was at his discretion as to what amount of contact the child would have with the mother,” the report states.
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 report indicates that Edwin Bender met Kesha Bender at Keith’s Auto Sales in China Grove and while Edwin Bender was inside the business with Kesha’s aunt, Kesha Bender sped off with the child in a 2000 GMC Yukon with NC license tag NVN9227.
“I have several documents that show the custody of the victim to be solely the father’s and an order to return the child to the father, as directed by a judge,” Mauldin reported.
Mauldin has a warrant for the arrest of Kesha Nicole Bender, and she has been entered as wanted in the National Crime Information Center. Dakota Bender has been entered as missing in NCIC. The vehicle is entered as a suspect vehicle.
A request for an Amber Alert was denied, but the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has agreed to assist in the case. They are going to assist with posters and will forward any information they receive to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
The mother could be in Texas with the child.
Kesha Nicole Bender is a white female, with a home address of 236 Homer Corriher Road, China Grove.
Dakota Ray Bender is from Belington, W.Va.
Contact the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8700, if you have any information regarding this case.