An 11-year-old Michigan boy reported missing after his father didn't return him to his mother last month has been found safe on a pheasant hunting ranch in South Dakota and is with the FBI. Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte says Friday that authorities had received tips that 53-year-old Mark Grabowski and Connor Grabowski-Cracchiolo were in at least a half-dozen states.
FBI agents arrested Grabowski at the River Hills Lodge ranch in Platte, S.D., where he had obtained employment after leaving Michigan.
Grabowski was supposed to bring Connor back to his mother, Kelly Evans, in St. Clair County's Casco Township on Aug. 30.
Grabowski and Evans separated before the boy was born.
"So relieved that Connor has been found and he’s safe and he’s in the custody of the agents out in South Dakota," Evans said.
Hours before he was located, a YouTube video surfaced in which the boy defended his father and said he was not being kidnapped. The boy also made accusations about his mother, which are being investigated by Child Protective Services.
“I just have to say that, you know, when people are held against their will I’m sure that they will say anything they need to say to survive. So, I don’t believe one word of it,” Evans said. “They’ll talk to Connor and figure things out and then we’ll have a big party.”
Evans says she won't be able to see him until next Monday at the earliest.
Grabowski is expected to appear in federal court in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He faces a federal charge of unlawful flight, and a Michigan charge of parental kidnapping.
Grabowski is a former Detroit Lion.
Part of the criminal complaint reads:
Grabowski has left the State of Michigan with his son. Grabowski has apparently abandoned his residence in Livingston County and efforts to contact him have been unsuccessful. Information was obtained that indicate Grabowski was planning to leave the United States and establish a new life in Costa Rica