Days after an SUV was stolen from a gas station and two children inside the vehicle were dumped on major roadways in frigid temperatures, authorities have arrested two teenagers and say there may be additional arrests.
The break in the case came when investigators tracked an iPad and an iPhone stolen Wednesday from the SUV to the southwest Atlanta home of one of the suspects, identified as 17-year-old Khyree Swift, according to arrest warrants.
The stolen SUV was found on Metropolitan Parkway, less than two miles from Swift’s home.
The other teen, whose name has not been released because he is 16 years old, was found at another location in Atlanta, police said.
Both were taken to the Clayton County Police Department for questioning, Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said Friday in a statement.
“It is believed that there are additional suspects,” Marbury said.
Warrants indicate the 16-year-old confessed to a conspiracy between him, Swift and another person to steal the SUV. He and Swift were arrested on charges of kidnapping, cruelty to children, theft by taking (motor vehicle) and theft by receiving stolen property.
Swift was denied bond in court Friday, according to Clayton County court records. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. Feb. 6. The 16-year-old is unlikely to face a judge before Monday.
Though police said an investigation revealed the teens “were present during the commission of the crime,” Swift told a judge he didn’t understand the allegations against him.
Swift told police the 16-year-old called him from Wilmer’s stolen iPhone, went to Swift’s home and tried to sell the phone and the iPad for $70, according to warrants.
The two suspects may have never been in the stolen SUV, Channel 2 Action News reported.
“We’re still trying to determine who (the driver) is,” Clayton County Maj. Craig Hammer told Channel 2.
According to officials, a silver Honda pulled up to the QuikTrip on Riverdale Road in Clayton County. One person jumped out and took Precious Wilmer’s 2009 Chevy Equinox.
Wilmer left her daughters, 1-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport, in the SUV with the engine running while she went inside the convenience store, Marbury said.
She came out of the store and saw her car being driven away with her children in the back seat, police said.
The girls were later found miles apart.
Georgia State University police Chief Joseph Spillane found Arya walking down the shoulder of a roadway near I-285 and Riverdale Road, police said.
Channel 2 photojournalist Brian Ferguson found Ava in the middle of South Fulton Parkway still strapped in her car seat.
At the time, the temperature was in the 20s, but it felt like the single digits.
The girls appeared to be OK, but were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center as a precaution.
Know what’s really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC’s crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.
— Staff writers Steve Burns and Raisa Habersham contributed to this article.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.