Benefits trail leads to woman’s capture

Benefits trail leads to woman’s capture


A trail of welfare checks was the clue that led authorities to an
allegedly abducted child in Amarillo.

Potter County officers arrested the boy’s mother, Cassandra Gay Brink,
40, on Tuesday on three felony charges of violating a court order,
according to Potter County Detention Center records.

Brink allegedly took her 4-year-old son and 16-year-old twin daughters in
early April from two Virginia counties, where the children’s fathers have
legal custody, according a news release from the Potter County Sheriff’s

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children listed the
4-year-old as a victim of a “family abduction” and posted all three
children’s pictures on its Web site. The teen daughters, however, were
not listed as abducted.

Potter County Sgt. B.J. Chester said Brink was getting public assistance
for the children, but the agency involved stopped mailing the checks when
they kept coming back because it didn’t have a valid address for Brink.

“She called up there raising a ruckus,” Chester said. “They said, ‘Well,
if you give us a good address, we’ll send the checks.”‘

Brink gave the agency an address in Amarillo.

After getting word that Brink might be in Amarillo, the Fauquier, Va.,
County Sheriff’s Office contacted Potter County.

Chester said Brink actually was living at a different address, and local
investigators used police records to track her down. All three children
were at home when officers went to arrest Brink.

“She was kind of in shock,” Chester said.

The children were placed with Children’s Protective Services pending
reunification with their custodial parents, he said.

According to information from the NCMEC, it is difficult to estimate how
many children go missing each year but the most-recent national study -
completed in 1999 – put the figure at 797,500 that year.

Of that number, about 204,000 were believed to have been abducted by a
family member. However, the caretakers of 43 percent of those children
did not consider the children abducted because the caretakers knew of the
children’s whereabouts and were not alarmed at the circumstances,
according to the 1999 study.

For more information on missing and abducted children, visit

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