No Crime

First of all I have to admit that there does not appear to be any crimes committed here. But the story is intriguing. And two families are very concerned and seem to be heartbroken. And even though there is no crime, the story is making national headlines. I first heard about it on The Early Show this morning.

Jennifer Malone picked her 8 year old son up at school on June 16. She said he had a dentist’s appointment. Then her husband realized that she hadn’t shown up for work that day. And he found out their bank account had been drained. The couple’s 10 year old son was in school as usual.

Prior to her disappearance, Jennifer Malone had just gotten a new job. She had been working as a trainee counselor at a school for children with behavioral problems and autism for about two weeks. Her husband Rodney Malone has said that he had changed recently. Says that she had switched from listening to country music to listening to hip-hop. And that she had started wearing low riding jeans.

In May Malone had been fired from her previous job. A parent of one of her students came home and found Malone with her 16 year old son, Christopher Cole. She called police. Division of Youth, Children, and Family Services is investigating those allegations. Hours before her disappearance, investigators had contacted Malone and requested that she appear for an interview on the following Monday.

Christopher Cole was last seen June 16, when he picked up his check at his job. Warrants have been filed for Cole.

There have been sightings and contact from the trio. One of their first contacts was with Cole’s grandfather. He is a truck driver, and the trio had met up with him in Illinois, on his route. He talked with them and says that he advised Cole to return home and gave him $100.

On Thursday, Rodney Malone received a package from his wife containing a short wave radio, and apology for taking  it. But no mention of the child. On Friday a friend turned two letters over to police that she had received from Malone. Witnesses have spotted the three in Tampa, Florida and said they appeared tired. The van owned by the couple has been found in Clearwater, Fla. It’s license plates were missing, and the plates have reportedly been spotted on two other vehicles.   (Pictures of Jennifer Malone and son at link)

Cole was 16 years old. Since he was over the age of consent, there is no crime there for any relationship he may have with Malone.

Malone was the other parent of the child who was taken from the school. As his guardian, she had the right to take him.

But the fact that there is no crime, doesn’t give the families any comfort. It doesn’t stop Christopher Cole’s mother from worrying about him, or Rodney Malone from worrying about his son and maybe even his wife a little bit. It doesn’t stop the 10 year old from missing his mother and his brother.

And of course it isn’t over yet. There are still issues to be dealt with over the relationship between a student and his school counselor. And questions about where they got the cars they have been seen in in Florida. Not to mention assisting a minor to run away from his home.

So instead of No Crime, perhaps I should say that charges are being explored.


A bus station worker noticed a trio acting ‘strangely’ last week. He says the way they were acting strangely was that the two were ‘making out’ while the 8 year old watched. Over the weekend the worker saw the broadcasts about the missing persons reports, and when the three showed up at the bus station, he called police. Police stopped the bus they had gotten on, and now have them in custody. Rodney Malone has talked with his son on the phone and is making plans to go there and file for custody.

Police say the three had spent their nights between a Salvation Army and sleeping in the broken down van.

There is now a warrant for Jennifer Malone charging her with interference with custody, for taking Cole from the state without his mother’s permission. Police are also exploring to see if any other crimes have been committed. They want to talk with her about the other vehicles they had been reported to be in.



  1. Soobs said,

    June 27, 2006 at 12:59 am

    I’m so glad they found them! I am also grateful that the 8 year old son will get to be with his father, and brother.

  2. June 27, 2006 at 2:04 am

    She gave up a lot for her few days with the 16 year old. Her husband, sons, job, and her free time since she got arrested. Hope she got a good tan while she was out on the beach.

  3. June 27, 2006 at 2:05 am

    She gave up a lot for her few days with the 16 year old. Her husband, sons, job, and her free time since she got arrested. Hope she got a good tan while she was out on the beach. She probably won’t be getting much sunshine again for a while.

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