Cleveland, OH – U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott is pleased to announce the safe recovery of two infants who were reported missing and endangered when their parents fled with them after an emergency custody hearing in Lake County. Jennifer Crawford, age 34, and Christopher Rusyniak, age 41, of Willowick, OH were charged with interference with custody after they fled their Willowick residence with the children in order to avoid a court order granting temporary custody of the children to the Lake County Department of Jobs and Family Services. The Willowick Police Department and Lake County Sheriff’s Office launched an intense investigation to locate the children and their parents. Both agencies are active members of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force and they enlisted the help of the task force when the investigation led them to multiple jurisdictions outside of Lake County.
Throughout the investigation task force officers from throughout Lake and Geauga County assisted in checking over 15 residences and conducting over three dozen interviews in cities throughout Lake, Geauga, Summit, and Cuyahoga Counties.
Yesterday evening at approximately 8:00 p.m., the task force was checking areas that the suspects were known to frequent when an alert task force member observed a vehicle belonging to one of the suspect’s family members exiting the I-480/Broadway off ramp. The officers followed the vehicle to a trailer park at 13505 Broadway, Garfield Heights, OH. Members of the task force determined what trailer the suspects were staying in and were able to locate and apprehend Jennifer Crawford and Christopher Rusyniak. During the arrest, officers also safely recovered both of the missing children.
Rusyniak and Crawford were transported to the Willowick Police Department. Both children were taken to Tri-Point Hospital by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office where they were admitted for observation.
U.S. Marshal Pete Elliot stated that, “The agencies and officers involved should be commended for their tenacious effort that led not only to the arrests of the two fugitives, but also the safe recovery of two very young children who were in a very dangerous situation.”
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of a known fugitive is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED or Text keyword WANTED and tip to TIP411 (847411) Tipsters can remain anonymous and reward money is available.
The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force – Painesville Division is composed of the following federal, state and local agencies: U.S. Marshals Service, Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Offices, Lake County Narcotic’s Agency Ashtabula County Adult Probation, Fairport Harbor Police Department, Mentor Police Department, Painesville Police Department, Willoughby Police Department, Willoughby Hills Police Department, Wickliffe Police Department, Eastlake Police Department, Willowick Police Department, Mentor on the Lake Police Department, Middlefield Police Department, Burton Police Department, Chester Township Police Department, Ashtabula Police Department, Conneaut Police Department, and the North Kingsville Police Department.