Children with mouths taped shut found in stolen van at traffic stop
Several children with packaging tape strapped over their mouths and a woman in labor were found by police in a stolen vehicle during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota.
A police officer made the shocking discovery when he pulled over a minivan for a traffic violation in the City of Ramsey, Minnesota, Tuesday.
Three adults, who were reportedly related to the children in the vehicle, were detained after police established the vehicle was stolen. One man, who was later identified as the father of the children, Deszion Marquese Wraggs, 26, was charged with felony auto theft.
The van driver, who was a woman claiming to be in labor, was taken to a hospital.
Seven sleeping children, five of whom were under five and two others aged six and nine, were found in the van, according to Star Tribune. Some of the group had their mouths taped, according to police.
All of the juveniles were checked by paramedics and released to their family after police determined there to be no risk to their safety. Anoka Child Protection is also investigating the incident.
“In this case, obviously concerning the children had tape over their mouths, it was reported by the other children it was some sort of game they were playing,” said Jeff Katers, City of Ramsey Police Chief, according to Fox9.
“I want to make it clear they were not bound or gagged. They were not under any distress,” he said.
Officers said the van, which was reportedly stolen in Missouri, contained a gun under the second row of seats, near the feet of some children and had a strong smell of burned marijuana coming from it.
Wraggs admitted to owning the gun and not having a permit to carry a firearm.
He also claimed he had rented the minivan about a month ago but believed that he didn’t have any money left on the credit card he used to rent the vehicle.
Police say the incident remains under investigation and the filing of additional charges against Wraggs is possible.