Year-long search leads to arrest of fugitive mom
Michelle Lee Chandler, 31, of Amity was arrested Tuesday in Southern Oregon by the U.S. Marshals Pacific NW Violent Offender Task Force. She was charged with custodial interference and contempt of court.
According to the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, members of the Task Force were assisted by the City of Ashland Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Human Services and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The YCSO gave the following account:
In August 2013, Yamhill County courts ordered Chandler to return her son to his father, Charles Norris. Deputies were unable to locate Chandler and the child, who had been living with Chandler's mother, Marianne, in rural Amity. The elder woman told deputies she didn't know the whereabouts of her daughter and grandson.
In April 2014, Norris filed a missing person report stating he had not seen his son since June 2013. Norris said no one he had talked with had seen Chandler and no one knew if his son was still in her care.
Yamhill County Sheriff's deputies conducted an investigation locally, then requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service. Investigations and interviews conducted by the YCSO and and U.S. Marshals Task Force led investigators to the Medford area.
Task force members located two vehicles of interest in Jacksonville. On Tuesday, Chandler was taken into custody without incident and lodged in Jackson County's jail, then released. She appeared in court Thursday in Yamhill County.
She was accompanied by three of her children, including an 8-year-old and 11-year-old in addition to Norris' son, who is now 5. They were taken into protective custody by the Oregon Department of Human Services to be reunited with family members.
"This case exemplifies the benefits to our citizen's when city, county and federal law enforcement work collectively to protect our vulnerable children," Yamhill County Sheriff Jack Crabtree said.