Man charged for filing false report of child kidnapping, police say

Darrell Kendall Shealy (Columbia Police Department)

The man accused of reporting a fake car theft and an abduction of two children at a local hotel is now being charged, according to the Columbia Police Department.

Fifty-five-year-old Darrell Kendall Shealy is now charged with filing a false police report.

"This is unacceptable and we will hold Mr. Shealy accountable for his actions," Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook told reporters.

Shealy admitted to being intoxicated at the time he reported the incident after being interviewed by investigators, the department says. The exact motive continues to be investigated, however.

Investigators searched Shealy's criminal history and family connections and learned he's an acquaintance with the children, but isn't the biological father as he first claimed.

Officers were initially dispatched to the Extended Stay hotel at 180 Stoneridge Drive around 9:15 a.m. Shealy told officers that his two sons, ages 3 and 7, were asleep inside of a dark blue BMW that was left idling when he quickly went inside the hotel. When he returned a few minutes later, Shealy said the car and children were gone.

Officers immediately began to search the areas around the hotel, along interstates and across the city to search for the car and children. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Richland County Sheriff's Department also helped in the search.

Investigators soon located both children safe after several hours; the three-year-old was at a daycare and in the care of a relative while the seven-year-old was at a local school. There was also no indication that the children were ever at the hotel.

"We were skeptical but you have to pursue the information as it's given to you... I can’t speak to what the motive would be," says Holbrook, who also described it as a "frustrating day."

Under SC law, a person found guilty of knowingly filing a false report must be imprisoned for no more than five years, face a fine of no more than $1,000 or both.

"We are very pleased that the children are safe," the Chief explained.

Shealy is currently at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

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