Crime & Courts

Mother arrested for falsely accusing child’s father on Father’s Day, Wichita police say

Wichita police discuss case involving child reported missing

Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred gave details on a case that initially began as a missing child case on Father's Day. The mother of the child was arrested Monday. (June 18, 2019)
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Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred gave details on a case that initially began as a missing child case on Father's Day. The mother of the child was arrested Monday. (June 18, 2019)

A Wichita mother who told police her child’s father was endangering their child on Father’s Day has been arrested on suspicion of felony interference with law enforcement.

Ronetta Ann Clement, 34, was arrested Monday and booked into Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of interference with law enforcement and providing false information concerning the death or disappearance of a child under age 13.

Clement told Wichita police on Sunday that Alton James Jr. was refusing to return their 2-year-old daughter, Anyla James, to her custody. She also said James had made homicidal and suicidal statements that put Anyla in danger, Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred said at a Tuesday morning news conference.

The report led Wichita police to send out a news release on Father’s Day asking for the public’s help locating Anyla and her father.

Anyla James “is believed to be in danger and is with her biological father Alton James Jr.,” Officer Kevin Wheeler said in a news release that day. Photos of Anyla and her father circulated social media platforms and a community-wide effort to locate the pair began.

After 117 hours of Wichita police work time spent on the case, it was determined that the James didn’t make those statements, Allred said.

“If anyone is making homicidal or suicidal statements, that’s a huge concern for us and that’s why we put the statement out,” Allred said.

Allred said Wichita police have not been able to speak to Anyla’s father and that he was likely reluctant to have direct contact with law enforcement because he has a warrant for his arrest.

“We still want to talk to him about it,” Allred said.

Allred would not say what the warrant was for, but called it “something he needs to take care of.”

Allred said the child was located Monday evening, and “everything appeared to be fine.”

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Chance Swaim won the Betty Gage Holland Award in 2018 for distinguished service to honor and protect the integrity of public dialogue on America’s college campuses. He has been a news reporter for The Wichita Eagle since 2018. You can contact him at 316-269-6752 and cswaim@wichitaeagle.com.

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