Suspect in Columbus baby kidnapping found in Indianapolis; ex-boyfriend says she’s ‘a different person’

At the time of arrest, missing baby was not found, police say.

The woman suspected of kidnapping two 5-month-old Columbus boys this week has been found by police in Indianapolis, followed by the missing baby hours later, Columbus police said.

Columbus Deputy Chief Smith Weir said the arrest of Nalah Jackson, 24, came after Columbus police received several calls from Indiana saying that they thought they had spotted her, and that detectives were able to corroborate some of that information.

During the call, Weir said that Columbus police asked Indianapolis police to detain the person that the callers had described, and following that they confirmed it was Jackson using fingerprints.

Kason Thomas was not located at the time of the arrest, and LaFonda Thomas, the twins’ grandmother, said finding Kason was the main concern.

“That’s what I want everybody’s focus to continue to stay on. I don’t want them to drop the ball. We’re not going to drop the ball,” she said. “We don’t know where she left my grandson. My grandson could be anywhere. Please look at his photo, memorize his face, and look for him.”

Kason was found hours later in the stolen Honda Accord in Indianapolis.

Earlier Thursday, the ex-boyfriend of Jackson said something in the past two years dramatically changed her.

“I don’t know really what switched in her. She’s like a different person. She doesn’t even look the same,” Dominic Davies told the Dayton Daily News Thursday from his Riverside apartment.

Davies said Jackson, who he has two daughters with, has a history of drug use and mental illness and police records obtained by this newspaper back that up. He said he was worried about what Jackson was capable of due to her mental state.

Jackson is suspected of stealing a car late Monday night in Columbus with the twin baby boys inside. The boys’ mother, Wilhelmina Barnett, was going inside a Donatos Pizza restaurant to pick up a Door Dash order and left the car running when Jackson took it, according to Columbus police.

An AMBER Alert was issued for Kason and Kyair Thomas early Tuesday morning. A passenger flying out of the Dayton International Airport found Kyair Thomas in the economy lot around 4:15 a.m. Tuesday in a car seat wrapped in a blanket.

Jackson was last seen in Huber Heights Tuesday morning at a gas station. Surveillance video showed her talking to an employee and asking for money, according to a Columbus Division of Police Facebook post.

Jackson was also in the area last Thursday, Dec. 15, according to witnesses and police records, after being arrested for a domestic violence incident at her ex-boyfriend’s apartment in Riverside.

Around 7 p.m. last Thursday, Jackson showed up outside the apartment of Davies, asking to see their two daughters. Davies informed her that they were not there, at which point Jackson attempted to force her way into the residence and punched Davies multiple times in the face, according to the police report.

Davies said Jackson has a history of mental health problems and drug use, telling police officers she was dressed only in underclothes and a trench coat at the time of the incident, according to the police report.

“Every time I have talked to her, in the recent year since I’ve been back in Dayton, I had to call the cops on her every single time,” Davies said Thursday, who was in a relationship with Jackson between 2017 and 2019.

On Nov. 3, Jackson was arrested by Riverside police in the parking lot of Davies’ apartment complex after officers found her with a plastic baggie of white powder, suspected to be cocaine. Jackson immediately attempted to swallow the baggie, but spit it back out, according to the police report.

Davies described Jackson as an “outgoing, loving person,” when they first met in Columbus in 2017, but drugs and increasing mental health issues led them to separate. A Dayton native, Davies moved to New Mexico for about a year, but returned to Dayton to gain custody of his two daughters, who now live with his mother, Davies said.

When he returned, Jackson was “unrecognizable” to him, he said.

Davies and his family are cooperating with authorities, he said, and does not condone her actions.

“I’ve been trying to do as best as I can with this case, because I know I want the baby home safe; because I couldn’t imagine if it happened to me,” he said.

Davies said that Jackson recently lost custody of her youngest son, almost immediately after birth, and speculated that has likely worsened her mental state.

“I think, in her mind, (the kidnapped baby) resembles her son in some delusional fantasy or something,” he said. “It’s like a bad horror movie.”

A Be On The Lookout alert, or BOLO, for Jackson and the stolen black 2010 Honda Accord was issued in Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. AMBER Alert notices was posted on electronic signs along Ohio roads.

The car is reportedly missing its front bumper and has a “Westside City Toys” bumper sticker on the back. The car’s left tail light is busted, but still works.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Columbus police had two teams of detectives — 12 in total — searching for Kason in Dayton, along with the FBI, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Dayton police.

Anyone with information that could be related to the investigation should call the Columbus Police tip line at 614-645-4701, the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or 911.

Local activist Dion Green offered a $10,000 reward for information that lead to finding Jackson or 5-month-old Kason Thomas.

“Money will come back. You can’t get kids back,” Green said.

Green was originally offering a $1,000 reward. He increased the reward to $5,000 Wednesday morning before raising the amount again Wednesday afternoon.

Green was in the Oregon District the night his father, Derrick Fudge, was killed in the mass shooting. He has been outspoken about gun violence and other causes in the region.