PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pennsylvania mother charged with concealing information about her twins says they’re living with a family friend.
Child welfare workers say they haven’t been able to locate the children for 10 years, but 47-year-old Patricia Fowler told WTAE-TV (http://bit.ly/2b1tUUa ) that they’re with the friend in Georgia.
The twins would be about 17 now. Police have accused the Penn Hills woman of giving various stories about where they are — none of which checked out.
The children were reported missing by caseworkers last month after four other children were removed from Fowler’s home at the caseworkers’ request.
The TV station says detectives spoke to one of the twins by phone, but Penn Hills police Chief Howard Burton wouldn’t confirm that.
Fowler hasn’t returned messages left by The Associated Press, and her phone is now disconnected.
Fowler faces a hearing next week on charges that include endangering the welfare of children and obstructing a child welfare investigation.
Police said they went to the Fowler home in Penn Hills, in suburban Pittsburgh, on June 20 at the request of the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families and removed four children. But the agency called police back July 6 to tell them there should have been six children there.
Fowler gave various accounts of the children’s whereabouts, but none has checked out, police said.
She said she sold the twins for $2,000 each but retracted that claim in a police interview last month after being told that would be illegal, Penn Hills police Chief Howard Burton said.
State law prevents child welfare workers from saying why Fowler’s children were being monitored.
Burton said his office was asked to remove the children because Fowler was “in violation of what CYF had told her to do.” But he said he wasn’t allowed to provide more details about the children, including the missing twins.
“They do exist, because at one time, when they were 3 or 4 years old I believe, CYF did take those two children from Fowler,” Burton said.
He said they were returned to her custody a couple of days later.
Fowler first told police the twins were being cared for by a South Carolina woman, but when police contacted that woman she told them “she never saw the missing children, doesn’t know their names, and had no idea that Fowler had twin children,” according to a criminal complaint.
Police have since interviewed other relatives and the twins’ father, who told them Fowler had told him the twins were living with an aunt in South Carolina.
Police also contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and checked records in Pennsylvania and other states. They could not find any record of the children ever being enrolled in school.
When police pressed Fowler, she told them she met a man named Mike at a bar in Homestead, another Pittsburgh suburb, and he introduced her to a woman named Barbara several years ago. According to the criminal complaint, Fowler said Barbara met the children several times at her home before buying them, the claim she later withdrew.
“That’s the problem with her: She’s all over the place,” the police chief said. “We just don’t know what to believe or not to believe.”
The FBI has been enlisted in the search.
Information from: WTAE-TV, http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com