4 Va. children abducted by mother may be in danger, deputies say

Deputies said Melody Bannister abducted her four children. (Source: Stafford County Sheriff)
Deputies said Melody Bannister abducted her four children. (Source: Stafford County Sheriff)(GIM)
Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 9:24 PM EST
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The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is searching for four children who deputies said were abducted by their mother.

Deputies said the investigation started in June 2019 when Melody Bannister, 34, of Stafford, told them her four children were being abused by their father.

After an investigation, the allegations were determined to be unfounded. Shortly after, Bannister left Virginia with the children on a planned vacation but never returned.

In July 2019, the father petitioned the courts for custody of the four children, to which the courts granted him custody.

“Bannister refused to return the children and subsequently petitioned the courts in Alabama requesting custody be issued to her there. The courts in Alabama heard the case and also ordered Bannister to return her children to their father back in Virginia,” a release said.

Bannister then quickly left Alabama with her four children and has not been seen since. Bannister and the children were last seen on Aug. 20 in Moulton, Alabama.

The children are Genevieve Bannister, 13; Janelle Bannister, 12; Vivienne Bannister, 11; and Peter Bannister, 7.

Over the past several months, they may have been seen at the following locations:

  • Birmingham, Alabama - 35201
  • Moulton, Alabama - 35650
  • Greenville, South Carolina - 29601
  • Shell Lake, Wisconsin - 54871
  • Madison, WI - 53701
  • Spooner, WI - 54801
  • Maryville, Tennessee - 37801
  • Knoxville, Tennessee - 37901
  • Lexington, Kentucky - 40502
  • Leadville, CO - 80429
  • Raleigh, NC - 27601
  • Aransas Pass, TX - 78335
  • Dallas, TX - 75201
  • Corpus Christi, Texas - 78401

Recent developments in the case have led investigators to believe the children may now be in danger.

Bannister is wanted for one felony charge of violation of a court order, four misdemeanor charges of abduction and one misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report.

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