The accused abductors of a teenager, the victim, and other family members sought help Thursday from a church in a small east Texas town. The family has been on the run since the reported kidnapping of Ailene Lander took place earlier this week.
Charles Partin is accused of abducting Lander, his 15-year old stepdaughter, from a doctor's office Monday in Dothan. Police believe Partin's wife, Julie Bethke, was a co-conspirator in the abduction of her daughter. Police say the couple is on the run with Ailene and five of her siblings. Some of the children are from prior relationships while others were born out of the union between Partin and Bethke.
Ailene was removed from the family's home earlier this month by the Department of Human Resources. Investigators say she was kidnapped by Partin while a social worker accompanied her to a doctor's appointment at the Southeast Alabama Medical Center.
A spokesperson for law enforcement in San Augustine, Texas said Charles Partin sought help and was given some "goods." He had to show identification in order to receive the charity. Upon further inquiries, the spokesperson said the agency was instructed by the FBI not to release additional information and, instead, refer all questions to the Dothan Police Department. San Augustine is a small town about 90 miles south of Shreveport.
Dothan Police Sgt. Rachel David said it's now believed the family of seven is traveling in a stolen 2003 Toyota Sienna, green in color. David released a statement Thursday night saying the van in which the couple escaped the hospital was recovered. She didn't disclose when or where the recovery was made. It's not immediately clear from where the Toyota was stolen.
David said the family may be staying at state parks or campgrounds. Partin, on his Facebook page, expresses love for camping. He is also believed to be under investigation for committing an illegal sex act at a Tennessee campground.