Ranaldo Brown is back home after being missing for more than 24 hours. The 5-year-old’s mother told police her son had been taken by her ex-boyfriend, 49-year-old Thomas Whaley, early Sunday morning.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports
Whaley is a convicted felon with a sordid past filled with violent crimes and weapons charges, police said. Brown’s mother had filed a restraining order against him last month, according to police, after what investigators described as a tumultuous love affair.
“It was extremely urgent that we find him as soon as possible because we didn’t know his intentions at the time,” said Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Carl Bell.
Brown was at his maternal grandfather’s house on East 3rd Street in Mount Vernon when Whaley took him out around 7:30 a.m. Sunday, police said.
The grandfather, who didn’t know about the restraining order, allowed the boy to leave.
Whaley said they’d be back in an hour, but they never returned. The boy’s mom told police she called Whaley around 6 p.m. Sunday, but he hung up on her.
That’s when she called authorities and an Amber Alert was issued around 1:30 a.m.
“Mr. Whaley and Ms. Brown had a violent history,” said Bell. “So for the fact of that history, we felt it prudent to issue an Amber Alert to find this child as soon as possible.”
Several hours later, Whaley called to say he and the boy were in the Morrisania section of the Bronx where he lives. The boy was picked up by police and Whaley was placed into custody.
But Bell said the child seemed very close to Whaley and didn’t want to leave when investigators arrived.
“It would seem from the relationship that they have, that he’s played a major part in the young boy’s life,” Bell said. “He was emotional when they were separated.”
While the boy is now home, officials said the investigation into exactly what happened is still unfolding.
“Frankly, there is some murky details that we have not yet figured out,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis. “It has a happy ending, but the details are shaky.”
Police are still questioning all of those involved and have not determined whether to press charges against Whaley.