Hidden In Plain Sight

2/24/2005
(Steve Levine, WROC-TV)

When relatives of missing 17 month old toddler Blessed Peoples made a
tearful plea in Atlanta, in June, for the safe return of the child, they
had no idea the abducted boy was 900 miles away in Rochester, at the home
of Reginald Willis.

Willis tells 8 ON YOUR SIDE, he was shocked when his former girlfriend
showed up and told him they had a son nicknamed “Ray-Ray.”

“I didn’t know anything about a baby,” says Reginald, “I thought she lost
it”.

50-year-old Jeanne Weaver Cox, Willis’ former girlfriend has admitted to
stealing the boy.

In a confession, obtained by NEWS 8, Cox writes that she went to Atlanta
to buy a baby from a woman named Stephanie.  Atlanta police say Cox
actually kidnapped the child from a women she met in a homeless shelter.

Cox claims she and the child traveled to Rochester by boarding an Airtran
flight in Atlanta.

That’s not all the airline offered Cox and the kidnapped kid.

Reginald says one of the stewardesses gave Jeanne a stroller.

News 8 has learned that while in Rochester, the child was treated for an
ear infection at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Reginald says the hospital never questioned their relationship to the
child.

Strong says it checks children’s ID only if Doctors feel there’s
something suspicious.

While authorities were combing the Peach State for the missing boy, he
was in Rochester being showered with gifts by the man who thought he was
his father.

“I took the baby to the Wal-Mart in Chili, bought him clothes and
medicine,” says Willis, who said he had no idea the child was kidnapped.

Georgia officials tell NEWS 8, they did not issue a state “Amber Alert”
because they did not have enough information on the case.

When Atlanta police made Jeanne’s photo public, within hours a relative
recognized her and contacted family in Rochester.

Cox and the child were found by Rochester police a few hours later hiding
in a friend’s bathroom.

As for Reginald, “I got attached to this kid and found out it was stolen,
that hurt me the most”.

Reginald last saw Jeanne in June shortly after her arrest.

He was not charged in connection with the case.

Cox will serve six years in prison and receive five years probation for
the kidnapping.

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