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Second suspect sought in alleged kidnapping of Mount Vernon boy

The mother of a woman suspected of kidnapping a 5-year-old foster child is also a suspect in the alleged crime, police said.

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Mount Vernon police are now searching for a second suspect in the alleged kidnapping of a 5-year-old foster child

Police initially issued an arrest warrant for 35-year-old Amanda M. Dinges after Child Protective Services (CPS) reported Dinges potentially kidnapped a child placed in her care. On Monday, police issued an arrest warrant for Dinges' mother, 60-year-old Amber Dinges, who they suspect was "complicit" in the kidnapping. 

Police responded to the 1600 block of North 26th Street in Mount Vernon at around 10 a.m. on Nov. 28 after receiving the report from CPS that Amanda Dinges may have left with the child. Police discovered Dinges had disconnected her phones, vacated her last known address and fled the area. 

CPS advised police that the child had not been in school since Nov. 21 and there was a notice of abandonment on the door of Dinges' apartment, according to probable cause documents. 

Dinges previously met with the boy's biological mother and CPS workers on Nov. 15, where the agency recommended the boy’s biological mother have overnight visits for a few weeks starting on Nov. 25. The group planned a meeting in December to discuss expanding the visits. 

The next day, Dinges told Sky Valley CPS that she needed to have her teenage foster child removed from her home before she started a new job across the state on Nov. 21. Police say Dinges told CPS workers that the 5-year-old had already been removed, which he had not.

CPS removed the teen from Dinges’ care on Nov. 18.

On Nov. 19, a neighbor told police she saw Amber, Amanda and the boy walking quickly and heard the women tell the boy they "were leaving here." The neighbor then asked Amber if they were moving and said her response was "awkward" and she tried to change the conversation quickly. 

On Nov. 21, managers at Dinges’ apartment found the keys to her unit in the office, which they believed were returned over the weekend. There were still large pieces of furniture in the unit, although managers told police that clothing, bedding and toiletries had been taken.

When the boy didn't show up to the scheduled visit with his biological mother on Nov. 25, she contacted her caseworker, according to Brittany Tri, the biological mother's lawyer. Due to the holiday weekend, the worker saw the message on Nov. 28, and CPS alerted police to concern about the child’s safety.

According to a CPS employee who was responsible for transporting the boy for his visits, both Amber and Amanda were typically involved in scheduling visitations. The employee said Amber and Amanda "constantly obstructed her attempts to perform the court ordered visitations." 

The employee continued, saying that during their last visit, Amber was "overwhelmingly agreeable" and told her that the boy's schedule would be open for visitations with his biological mother soon. The employee said it was "extremely out of character" for Amber and it made her very suspicious.

According to court documents, law enforcement officials believe that all three of them left the area together.

Dinges was charged with second-degree kidnapping and a warrant was issued for her arrest on Nov. 29.

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