Toulon mother appears in court

By Denise Jackson

September 28, 2012 Updated Sep 28, 2012 at 6:25 PM CDT

TOULON,IL--The Toulon woman whose story about her missing baby set off a statewide amber alert Thursday appeared in Stark County Court Friday. After a day long search and safe return, residents are dealing with a range of emotions.

During the hearing in Stark County Court Sheriff Jimmie Dison told the court Kendra Meaker showed up at his department Thursday morning to report that someone had snatched her three week old baby, Mia Graci Thompson, out of the back seat of her car after she went inside the post office to mail a package. Dison added that when confronted later during a day long search Meaker again denied "doing anything to her child". Residents in the community say they suspected there were holes in Meaker's story.

"You knew there was something behind it there was no witnesses. How did she describe the person in the car. I knew something wasn't right," said Kewanee resident Karen Quanstrom.

"All the emotions of fear that she was kidnapped in a little town like this where you think you're safe and then to find out that it was the mama all along brings out so many emotions, hate, fear," said Kewanee resident Corina Galbraith.

Judge Stuart Borden charged Meaker with one count of obstructing justice, a felony, and two misdemeanor counts of endangering the life and health of a child.

Russell and Mary Jo Van Dran found the baby in a culvert just off a gravel road outside Toulon. It was nearly 12 hours after the search began when the couple heard a baby crying as they sat inside their truck

"My wife was out of the truck like a shot, cut down there and we had a heck of a time getting the baby out of the grass. She had her fingers interwoven in the grass. We were just at the right place at the right time. God had a hand in this thing too," he said.

During the court hearing Stark County State's Attorney James Owens says when state police confronted Kendra Meaker about her story again she admitted to putting her baby in that field. The judge set bond for Meaker at 100-thousand dollars and appointed her a public defender. She is due back in court October 2nd.