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UPDATE: Suspects arrested in Missouri after allegedly taking East Texas children who were supposed to be in CPS custody

The children are now back in CPS custody.

SMITH COUNTY, Texas — Three people are in custody after allegedly taking two East Texas children who were supposed to be in the custody of Child Protective Services (CPS).

According to the Smith County Sheriff's Office (SCSO), CPS reported their agency was granted temporary sole managing conservatorship of Amber Jackson, 13, and Tristan Jackson, 9. The conservatorship was granted by the Honorable Polk County Court at Law Judge Tom Brown on May 4, 2021.

The SCSO says Cynthia Hodges, Jimmy Hodges and Francis Hodges were arrested Tuesday by the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office in Missouri in connection with taking the juveniles. Both of the children were present at the time of arrest and were removed from the location. They are now back in Texas under CPS care.

According to the SCSO, the children were subsequently removed from the custody of their mother, Cynthia, and were placed with family members in Smith County.

Officials say Cynthia picked up the children from the placement family, violating the court order. Shortly after picking up the children, a traffic stop was initiated on Cynthia by a local law enforcement agency. Cynthia was subsequently arrested for outstanding felony warrants. The law enforcement official had no knowledge of the children’s situation and allowed Cynthia to contact a family member who was not authorized to have custody of the children. After picking up the children, the family member took them to their maternal grandfather, Jimmy, and his wife, Francis. 

Credit: Smith County Judicial Records

According to officials, the Hodges have a 2012 white Ford-250, unknown license plate, and could be towing an RV. They are possibly staying in RV parks in the East Texas area. The last known RV Park they were staying at was in Longview. All three have ties to east and south Texas and could be staying at motels in these areas.

On Tuesday, arrest affidavits were issued for Jimmy, Francis and Cynthia charging them each with two counts of Interference with Child Custody. A bond of $100,000 was set on each charge. Additionally, Jimmy is wanted out of Dallas and Smith County, and Francis has a warrant for parole violation.

The SCSO says Cynthia is a known drug user while Jimmy and Francis have extensive criminal backgrounds.

Family members are offering a reward of $500 for the safe return of the children.

If you have any information as to the whereabouts of the Hodges or the children, please call the SCSO at (903) 566-6600.