[UPDATE 5 p.m.] AMBER ALERT: Missing Westfield Woman, Daughter Found Safe in Virginia
The suspect was driving a gray 2004 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with Massachusetts license.
[UPDATE, Wednesday, 4:56 p.m.]
Massachusetts State Police issued the following update:
At approximately 2:45 p.m., Virginia State Police stopped the suspect vehicle described below on Route 95 southbound in the town of Waverly in Greensville County. Cheryl Kozaczek, who was driving, was taken into custody. Gaebria Kozaczek, 3 months old, was in the truck and does not appear to have been harmed.
Virginia Police were on the lookout for the 2004 Toyota Tacoma after Massachusetts State Police at General Headquarters and at the Commonwealth Fusion Center shared information with our counterparts in various states along the eastern seaboard. We had developed information earlier in the day that Kozaczek was likely in Maryland, and shortly thereafter that she was continuing to head southbound through the Richmond, Va., toward points south. The Virginia fusion center and State Police broadcast descriptions to police agencies in that state.
In a similar manner, we shared information with North Carolina State Police, and North Carolina troopers were staging near the border waiting for her. That was not necessary, however, as Virginia troopers located the truck and conducted a motor vehicle stop leading to the arrest and safe recovery of the child. As far as we know, the motor vehicle stop and arrest were without incident. Due to the effective communication and collaboration of both state police agencies, a child was found in a timely manner and unharmed.
Kozaczek is being transported to the South Side Regional Jail, where she will be held pending her arraignment as a fugitive from justice. The Hampden County (Mass.) District Attorney’s Office will work with Virginia authorities to arrange Kozaczek's rendition to Massachusetts to answer to charges of kidnapping and other offenses. She will likely also be charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, as the truck is registered to a family member.
The underlying case remains under the jurisdiction of the Westfield Police Department, who did an excellent job with the early stages of the investigation and continued to provide valuable assistance throughout the day.
[UPDATE, Wednesday, 3:36 p.m.]
A Virginia news station is reporting that the mother and child have been located in Waverly, Virginia. The little girl was unharmed, according to the report.
[UPDATE, Wednesday, 1:39 p.m.]
Massachusetts State Police will do a short briefing on this investigation at 3 p.m. at State Police General Headquarters, 470 Worcester Rd. (Route 9 east), Framingham. The availability will be held in front of the General Headquarters building.
[UPDATE, Wednesday 1:16 p.m.]
State police are investigating credible information that the suspect headed south from New England along the Eastern Seaboard to the Mid-Atlantic Region. They are working to narrow the geographic area.
Massachusetts State Police issued an AMBER Alert on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at around 10:18 a.m.
The alert reads as follows:
The Massachusetts State Police have just received a request for an AMBER Alert from the Westfield Police Department regarding a Westfield woman who has taken her 3-month-old daughter, of whom she does not have legal custody. We are in the early stages of assessing the request to determine it if meets the criteria for an AMBER Alert. An AMBER Alert has not issued at this time. In the meantime, we have advised all patrols of the following information, which is also being sent to police departments nationwide.
Cheryl E Kozaczek, 28, of 80 Woodmont St., Westfield, left her home at approximately 1 a.m. today with her 3-month-old daughter, Gaebria Kozaczek, in a gray 2004 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, MA Plate 85ZH15. Cheryl Kozaczek does not have legal custody of the child. The child’s legal guardian is Cheryl Kozaczek’s mother, of the same address.
Cheryl E Kozaczek is Caucasian. She is approximately 5’4” tall, approximately 115 pounds, with long brown hair with blond highlights, often worn in a ponytail. When last seen she was wearing a lightweight tan sportcoat, black jeans, and black Army boots with yellow stiches. She may be carrying a large black diaper bag.
Gaebria Kozaczek, a Caucasian female infant, was born on July 18, 2012. She is approximately 2 feet tall and weighs approximately 12 lbs. She has a full head of brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing pink and black striped tights with either what is a described as a fluffy top or a pink night shirt.
The vehicle is a 2004 gray Toyota Tacoma pickup with Mass. Registration 85ZH15. The truck bears a Westfield State University parking decal.
Cheryl E Kozaczek’s whereabouts are unknown. She has previously spent time in California. She will sleep in her vehicle or in hotels. Preliminary information indicates that there may be reason to fear for the child’s safety and well-being.
Anyone who sees persons or the vehicle matching these descriptions, or who has information about the whereabouts of Cheryl E Kozaczek, is urged to call 9-1-1 or Massachusetts State Police at 508-820-2121.