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Missing children found

By Ed Brock

The homeless babysitter who wandered out into Tuesday's stormy weather with three children has been found and all three children are safe.

But Forest Park police still don't know exactly why 33-year-old Sheronda Renee Kessler took the children from the Calvary Refuge Center on Thurmond Road Tuesday morning, or just how she ended up at the shelter in Atlanta where she was found with the children on Wednesday afternoon.

And as Kessler sits in Clayton County jail on charges of interference with custody, the children, 5-year-old Kimaneisha Hogan, 2-year-old Alexis Anderson and 9-month-old Mea Kimani are in the custody of the Department of Family and Children's Services.

Kessler left the shelter with the children around 9:30 a.m. as the remnants of Hurricane Frances were dumping large quantities of rain across the metro area. Forest Park Police Capt. Chris Matson said that, thanks to the information put out in the media about the missing children, the investigators received several tips on the children's whereabouts.

One of those tips came around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday from the shelter where Kessler was found, Matson said. Matson said Kessler may have hitchhiked or taken a bus to the shelter, which he refused to identify.

"Basically what (Kessler)'s been doing is traveling from place to place," Matson said.

Matson said he had no information on Kessler's mental state, nor could he confirm a report that she is pregnant.

The parents of Kimaneisha and Alexis, Dorothy Henderson and Jerome Anderson, appeared at the Forest Park police headquarters Wednesday afternoon during Matson's press conference expecting to see their children. They said they were surprised that the children had been turned over to DFCS but they were happy the children were fine.

Henderson said they had come to Georgia from Mississippi a year and a half ago and had been staying at the Calvary Shelter for three days. They had met Kessler at the shelter and said they had no reason not to trust her with their children.

"She looked like a nice young lady," Henderson said.

Anderson said he was told that something happened to Kessler's children and that was why she took their children.

"I'm sorry she had to go through that but these are our kids and we love our kids," Anderson said.

The father of Kimani was still out searching for her at the time of the press conference, said Calvary Refuge director Tawana Tarno said. Tarno also said that volunteers from the shelter had spent the past two days handing out leaflets and looking for the children.

Matson said DFCS should have a hearing within 48 hours about returning the children to their parents.

Kessler is a native of Ohio with no fixed address in the Atlanta area.