WINNEHSIEK COUNTY, Iowa – A search for a South Carolina couple suspected of taking their 2-year-old child ended in northeast Iowa.
Dakota Ray, who was listed as a missing and exploited child since April 15, was located and is now in custody of the Department of Human Services where she is being cared for after being located near Decorah.
On Thursday, dispatch in Winneshiek County received a call about a possible sighting of the Ray family at the Decorah Wal-Mart.
A short time later, deputies located and stopped a vehicle on Quarry Hill Rd.
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William Ray, 44, was arrested and charged with felony theft, operating a non-registered vehicle, fifth-degree theft, no valid driver’s license and failure to provide proof of financial liability. He also had an outstanding warrant out of South Carolina.
Jessica Ray, 36, was arrested for fifth-degree theft.
The parents had initial appearances before a magistrate Friday. William Ray is being held on $10,000 cash bond on the Winneshiek County charges and no bond on the South Carolina charges.
Authorities found a tan Franco Sarto clutch purse in the vehicle that was reported stolen out of LeMars, Iowa. The purse contained identification, a social security card, a variety of gift cards and a credit card belonging to the victim, according to court documents.
William Ray will remain incarcerated awaiting the extradition process to South Carolina, authorities said.
The parents are believed to be heavy methamphetamine users and surveillance images were captured Monday of them at an Iowa hospital in LeMars.
They were also known to get gas in Jackson, Minnesota. Law enforcement was concerned for the child’s wellbeing, according a press release.
This case remains under investigation and additional charges are pending.
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