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Gahanna police say Short North kidnapping suspect threatened to take another baby in custody dispute

Nalah Jackson
Columbus Division of Police
Columbus police say Nalah Jackson is charged with two counts of kidnapping after stealing a vehicle near a Donato's Pizza restaurant in the Short North that had two 5-month-old twin boys inside.

The woman accused of kidnapping twin baby boys last week was already facing charges alleging she threatened to take a baby boy she gave birth to while harassing the couple that was adopting him.

Gahanna police took a report accusing Nalah Jackson, 24, of the behavior at the beginning of November. She was charged with aggravated menacing and telecommunications harassment in Franklin County Municipal Court, where a judge granted a temporary restraining order barring Jackson from contacting Erin and Justin Saunders, the couple adopting the baby.

Erin Saunders told Gahanna police that she knew Jackson, because she worked to provide services to her through a social services agency. She told police that Jackson originally wanted her to adopt the baby, who was 6 months old at the time the report was filed.

But, when the Saunders began placing boundaries on Jackson’s visits with the baby, the police report states she began threatening to take the baby and threatened violence against the couple. “(Jackson) said if Erin thought she was going to steal her son and take him anywhere, ‘I will kill you.....and I mean that,’” the police report states.

Erin Saunders told police that it was too late for Jackson to object to the adoption and that the family only needed a few more home visitations before the adoption was finalized. Court records indicate Jackson was unhoused at the time of the report.

The police report states the baby was removed from Jackson’s custody because there were drugs in his system when he was born. Jackson faced other charges related to the removal of other children from her care in the past.

Jackson was arrested on the charges on Nov. 19, according to court records, and released on her own recognizance by Judge Mary K. Fenlon after she was arraigned Nov. 30, less than a month before 5-month-old twin boys, Kasan and Kyair Thomas were kidnapped Dec. 19 outside of a Short North restaurant.

Jackson's bond in the menacing case has been revoked and she's scheduled to appear Jan. 9 for a hearing. Jackson is expected to be extradited to Ohio from Indiana to face felony kidnapping charges in connection to the abduction of the Thomas twins. One of the boys was recovered the day after the abduction at the airport in Dayton. The other was found in Indiana shortly after Jackson was arrested.

Jackson also faces felony charges of battery in Indiana, alleging she spit on a law enforcement officer.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.