Miss. couple picks up kidnapped child; sisters face charges

Published 7:04 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The adoptive parents of a 5-month-old child who police say was abducted from her Mississippi home have picked up their daughter from a child welfare office in North Carolina, where two sisters accused in the crime were being held Monday.

Madison Erickson was reunited with her parents late Sunday, the same day that authorities raided a Fort Bragg apartment to find the infant with her biological mother, Jamie Kiefer, said Cumberland County Department of Social Services spokeswoman Sandra Pittman.

“It’s been a wild three days,” the child’s father, Matthew Erickson, told The Fayetteville Observer. “We’re just enjoying being home the first night with the family.”

He declined additional comment.

The alleged kidnapping appeared to stem from a disputed adoption, authorities said.

Kiefer and her sister, Rikki Swann, were being held Monday in the Cumberland County jail.

Each woman was charged with single counts of robbery and kidnapping in Mississippi. Jason Pack, an FBI special agent in Jackson, Miss., said authorities were meeting with federal prosecutors to determine if the women will face federal charges.

In addition, they were charged in North Carolina with being fugitives from justice.

Local, state, federal and military officials scoured the southeast for Madison after an Amber Alert was issued Saturday.

Authorities said two women and an armed man wearing masks stormed into Jennifer and Matt Erickson’s home Saturday in rural Itawamba County, near the Tennessee and Alabama lines, taking Madison at gunpoint.

They fled with the baby after using an electrical cord to tie up Jennifer Erickson, who was able to free herself and call authorities.

Authorities are looking for two other people they believe helped Kiefer take the baby.

Kiefer and Swann took refuge Saturday in the Fort Bragg apartment of Amanda Bell, Swann’s friend. Swann lived at Fort Bragg with her husband, but she moved back to Mississippi when her husband was deployed to Afghanistan.

Bell said Swann called her late Saturday night, asking for a place to stay. Bell said she was asleep when the sisters arrived, and she didn’t know Kiefer and Madison were in her home until police and military agents arrived at her home.

Kiefer and Swann were arrested. Bell isn’t accused of any wrongdoing.

Kiefer also has a 5-year-old son, and Swann has two children, ages 6 and 1. The children were with the women when authorities raided the apartment.

Madison was examined at a medical center on base before she was turned over to welfare workers, who cared for the child while the Ericksons traveled from Mississippi.

Fort Bragg, a sprawling Army base near Fayetteville, is about 60 miles south of Raleigh.