Datwon Fowler, 18, remained jailed Friday on accusations he sent Penn Hills police a phony Facebook message on behalf of his brother, Ivon, and then a text message on Thursday, claiming to be Ivon. The text said he and his sister were safe and sound in Atlanta.
According to a criminal complaint, Fowler told investigators he sent the message so police would stop bothering him and his mother about the twins’ whereabouts.
“You know, we don’t know at this point in time” if the twins are safe, Burton said. “You and I would both look at it at this time and say, ‘If you know where the kids are, tell us.’ But they’re doing all these things to mislead us.
“It would be truthful and common sense to say, ‘I don’t know where they are,'” if that were really the case, Burton said.
Instead, Patricia Fowler has, at various times, told police the twins were living with friends or relatives in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Police have checked with the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children and found no trace of the twins, and a search of other databases in various states produce no evidence they’ve even ever attended school.
Burton said one Georgia city where Patricia Fowler told police the children lived didn’t even exist. And police officers in another state — Burton couldn’t remember which one, there have been so many — checked out another address Fowler provided and found it was a vacant storefront.
Patricia Fowler is free on bond and faces a preliminary hearing Monday on charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstructing a child welfare investigation and concealing the whereabouts of the children. She didn’t return calls earlier to her home phone, which has since been disconnected, and she doesn’t have an attorney listed in court records.
Neither does Datwon Fowler, who is charged with making false reports to police, obstructing a child welfare investigation, criminal use of a cellphone and conspiracy. His preliminary hearing is Aug. 29.
Police filed the charges against Patricia Fowler because they went to her home June 20 at the request of the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families to take all her children. They removed four children only to have the agency call back July 6 and tell police there should have been six children there.
State confidentiality laws prevent the child welfare agency from commenting, but police in a criminal complaint say Children Youth and Families caseworkers have been unable to verify the location of the twins for at least 10 years.