ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 5-year-old boy in need of a heart transplant was found safe with his father and paternal grandmother at a motel near Chicago early Wednesday, hours after his father allegedly took him without permission from a St. Louis hospital where he was being treated.
Illinois State Police said the three were found at a motel in Alsip, south of Chicago, at about 3 a.m., and that the boy, Porter Stone, appeared to be fine but was taken to a local hospital. He had only about a day's worth of medication in his portable IV when he was taken, the St. Louis hospital said.
Jeffrey Stone, 33, and his mother, Rhonda Marie Matthews, were detained, state police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. She deflected questions about their confinement to the Alsip police department, which declined immediate comment.
St. Louis prosecutors charged Jeffrey Stone and Matthews on Wednesday with kidnapping, interfering with custody and endangering the welfare of a child. It was not immediately clear were they were being held or if Porter was still being treated at the Alsip hospital.
Jeffrey Stone, of Hercules, Calif., and the boy's mother, Tiffany Stone, are estranged, and Jeffrey Stone did not have custody rights to his son, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said in court documents filed in St. Louis.
Porter was discharged at 3:50 p.m. Tuesday after undergoing several days of treatment at the St. Louis hospital for cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle, officials said. He is on the hospital's heart transplant waiting list and was going to be monitored by doctors closer to his mother's home in St. Joseph, near Kansas City.
Jackie Ferman-Grothe, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis hospital, said Porter was discharged shortly before 4 p.m. and that his father took him with him, purportedly to get a prescription filled, while Tiffany Stone was getting the car. Ferman-Grothe said the father walked out with the boy, and the mother contacted authorities.
Police said after taking the boy, Jeffrey Stone called his estranged wife to tell her he had their son.
It's the second recent case in which a father was accused of taking a critically ill child without permission from a St. Louis hospital. In February, Dana Jones of Ingleside, Ill., was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and interference with custody for allegedly removing his 14-year-old daughter from Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. She was being treated for complications from a kidney transplant.
The girl was found safe later that day at a hospital in Milwaukee.