A child-stealing case more than a quarter-century old was solved this week in South Sioux City, Nebraska. Dakota County Attorney Ed Matney says in August 1980 Sharon Grummond kidnapped her 4-year-old granddaughter Angela from the child’s home there. There was a change in county attorneys about that time and in the confusion that followed there was no warrant issued for nearly three years, though Matney says they knew the woman had taken the child.
Once the complaint was filed, federal authorities began a search and several times in the eighties they came close to catching her, but the woman eluded them. Finally they closed the file, saying they didn’t have the resources to continue on this case. The prosecutor credits a local officer, Lieutenant Chuck Carson with looking through “cold-case” files and reviving the search for the girl.
Matney, who took the County Attorney’s office in 2004, was contacted by the national Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which had kept track of the case, and they formed an investigative group named for the child: “Task Force Angela.” The Nebraska State Patrol loaned the task force an investigator and a crime analyst, and they got the old files from the FBI and US Attorney’s Office. The case and its investigation crossed state lines.
At the time the little girl was kidnapped her mother lived in South Sioux City, Nebraska, and today she lives in Sioux City, Iowa, as Matney points out “it’s kind of like one community, the metro area.” The investigation located Grummond and the girl in Florida, where the investigators say they think she home-schooled the child to avoid being found.
On Wednesday, at the South Sioux City Courthouse, the 66-year-old grandmother was arrested and the girl, now thirty years old, met the rest of her family. They’d worked out a “self-surrender” agreement, so the grandmother turned herself in to Lieutenant Carson, who’d led the renewed investigation. Sentenced to three years probation, Sharron Brummond will serve that in Florida where she lives.
The prosecutor says while such cases don’t always have a fairytale ending, he hopes the reunion will lead to renewed family ties for Angela and her mother and father.
Before the court session, the family was given time to meet and talk. Angela’s been living in Florida for years and has a job in the pet-food business, she says. Matney says he hopes they’ve laid groundwork for a future relationship.
While they don’t know what the grandmother told Angela during the years she was raising her, the mother and father are talking it over with her. The mother and father were pleased to see their daughter, and though the prosecutor says after such a long separation the reunion will likely be “cumbersome,” the parents were overjoyed to see their daughter. Matney says he’s proud of the local law-enforcement agencies and his task force.