FROM STAFF REPORTS
HOUSTON — The mother of three Bertram Elementary School students is facing a felony charge May 22 after taking the children off a school bus against their will and driving them to Houston, where she eventually turned herself into authorities, officials said.
An overnight Amber Alert resulted in the capture of 29-year-old Tekecha Milena Quinonce and the safe return of the children ages 7, 8, and 9 years old.
“She saw the Amber Alert herself,” Bertram Police Chief J.J. Wilson said. “She knew she was in some trouble. She knew her time was limited.”
The incident unfolded on the afternoon of May 21 at the Bertram campus when Quinonce, the children’s biological mother, who has no custodial rights, was spotted gathering the kids from the bus.
“She portrayed herself as a grandma. They were climbing onto a school bus, and she grabs them and takes off,” Wilson said. “… The children looked reluctant and others noticed those kids were upset.”
She placed the three children in a black 2008 Pontiac G6 and drove off with them.
The Bertram Police Department worked with Burnet County authorities to track her along county roads going toward the Houston area.
Houston police assisted by contacting her family members, “putting pressure” on them to encourage Quinonce to return the children.
At about 8 a.m. May 22, she turned herself in at a southeast Houston police facility, where she is also being detained in connection with an unrelated Harris County case.
Quinonce is scheduled to be extradited to Burnet County on a charge of interfering with child custody, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years with a conviction.
The Amber Alert was discontinued at about 9:30 a.m. May 22.
“With everybody working together between the school district, Burnet County dispatch, and the (police department), it worked out,” Wilson said.