Manhunt for parents, 8 children taken from foster care

September 21, 2011 7:45:08 PM PDT
The NYPD is searching for a mother and father accused of abducting their eight children, all with the same first name.Foster mother Barbara Emanuel prayed on Wednesday afternoon for the safety of the baby she's raised since May, and for 11-month old Neferetti Paynes' seven brothers ranging in age from 4 to1.

The children were spirited away from the grounds of the Forestdale Foster Care Agency Monday during a supposedly supervised visit with their mom, Shanel Nadal.

Emanuel, sitting on a bench nearby, says it happened in an instant.

Authorities now believe Nadal, who lost custody of her children in 2009 planned out the abduction carefully with the help of the children's biological father, 34 year old Nephra Payne.

Neighbors told police they saw the couple moving dozens of boxes out of their first floor apartment in Manhattanville Monday.

At the time of their abduction, the children were split up, living in three different foster homes in Queens. Five of the boys were in Jamaica and two in Springfield Gardens. Sister Neferrti was placed in St. Albans.

Police issued an alert for a black Chevy Suburban with the license number EXZ5896.

All of the boys are named Nephra Payne. The children have different middle names. The children range in age from 11 months to 11 years old.

Police worry that the children could be in danger.

A source familiar with the family says that the mother took at least one of the children out of state in May or June without permission. They still allowed her to have the supervised visits once she returned. ACS sources say Forestdale is well known to be lax in issues of supervision of parental visits.

Forestdale is a not-for-profit family agency based in Forest Hills, Queens. They have four main programs - Foster Care, support for pregnant and parenting teens, family crisis intervention and a Fathering Initiative.

ACS released the following statement:
"ACS and our foster care agency began working with the NYPD immediately after the mother absconded with the children from a visit at the foster care agency yesterday. Earlier today, we sought and received active warrants from the Manhattan Family Court for the arrest of both parents and for them to produce the children to the Court. We ask for the public's assistance in locating the children, and appreciate any assistance that they can provide the NYPD."

ACS declined to reveal why the children were in their custody or how Nadal was able to walk off with the children during the visit. The secure facility has an electronic gate that requires an access card.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.