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Baby sitter makes appearance in court

By Ed Brock

The parents of three children who were taken from a Forest Park homeless shelter by their baby sitter will learn today if and when the children will be returned to them from state custody.

Meanwhile, the woman accused of taking the children, 33-year-old Sheronda Renee Kessler, made her first appearance in court Thursday on misdemeanor charges of interference with custody.

On Tuesday Kessler was babysitting the children at Calvary Refuge Center shelter on Thurmond Road while their parents were out looking for jobs, Forest Park Police Capt. Chris Matson said previously. Around 9:30 a.m. she left the shelter as the remnants of Hurricane Frances brought heavy rains to the area and apparently went from shelter to shelter until she was found at a shelter in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday.

The children were all in good condition when they were found and they were put into Clayton County Department of Family and Children Services' custody.

Dorothy Henderson and Jerome Anderson, the mother and father of 5-year-old Kimaneisha Hogan and 2-year-old Alexis Anderson who were two of the children taken, said they had met Kessler at the shelter where they had been staying for three days.

A hearing is scheduled in Clayton County Juvenile Court for 10 a.m. today in which Henderson and Anderson, and the father of the third child 9-month-old Mea Kimani will learn if the children will be returned to them.

The parents were in better spirits on Thursday knowing the children had been found, said Tawanda Tarno, director of the Calvary Refuge shelter.

"Before they were just pacing the floor and looking down a lot," Tarno said.

Tarno said the shelter does not offer daycare service but encourages the residents to use the Atlanta Women's Day Shelter when they can.

Matson said they have no information on why Kessler took the children. During her appearance in Clayton County Magistrate Court Kessler appeared unemotional and told Judge Gloria Reed that she would waive her right to a preliminary hearing.

Kessler's bail was set at $6,000.