Search continues for Richmond mother accused of leaving special needs daughter in Michigan woods

Knekesha Crute: “There’s no justifiable reason for what happened.”
Takai Crute was found in the woods alone with a garbage bag of clothing and no identification.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 5:16 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The search continues for a Richmond mother who allegedly abandoned her special needs daughter hundreds of miles away in the woods in Kalamazoo, Michigan, back in April.

A hiker found Takai Crute (left) alone in the woods in Michigan. Authorities continue to search...
A hiker found Takai Crute (left) alone in the woods in Michigan. Authorities continue to search for her mother, Angela Crute (right).(Source;Michigan State Police | Michigan State Police)

Michigan State Police said on the morning of April 20, 22-year-old Takai Crute was seen riding a Kalamazoo bus alongside her mother, 50-year-old Angela Crute and an unidentified woman.

Michigan State Police Bus Footage
Michigan State Police Bus Footage(Source;WWBT | WWBT)

Authorities said all three women got off the bus and walked behind Kalamazoo Valley Community College into the Al Sabo land preserve.

A maintenance worker told police he had a conversation with Angela Crute, who told him she and her sister were taking Takai on a walk. The maintenance worker grew suspicious after this conversation and called the police.

Officers searched for the group but never found them. Nearly 12 hours later, a hiker found Takai Crute, who is non-verbal and has special needs, alone in the woods with a garbage bag of clothing and no identification.

Takai Crute was rushed to Bronson Hospital for medical care and evaluation. In an effort to identify her, authorities sent out an alert with her picture.

On May 20, Knekesha Crute ran into the photos of her niece in the hospital and called authorities.

“I just screamed and cried like what in the world what’s going on,” she told NBC12. “A lot of mixed emotions. Concern, frustration, like number one, how and when did you get to Kalamazoo?”

Authorities are still searching for Angela Crute, who is from Richmond and is believed to be back in the area. Michigan State Police are also seeking help to identify the second woman seen with Angela and Takai in the videos.

“Life happens. Things change. You could’ve called us. Our phone numbers are the same, so there’s no reason, to me, not knowing the answers,” said Knekesha Crute. “In my head, based on what we have now, there’s no justifiable reason for what happened.”

Knekesha told NBC12 she is working on getting custody of Takai Crute as the search continues for her mother.

“It didn’t have to result to this. At the same time, if your life was in jeopardy and you did this as a way to save her, step up and say that,” she told NBC12. “You know, because this is too many unanswered questions, and at the end of the day, you’re the only one with the answers.”

Michigan State Police also plan to seek vulnerable adult abuse charges against Angela after their investigation, which officers said is “close to being wrapped up.”

Anyone with information about the unknown female or location of Angela Crute can call the MSP Tip Line at 844-642-8384 or email