Two more suspects arrested in case involving child abuse

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – Police now have all three suspects in custody who reportedly led officers on a chase through the Hamilton Place Mall.

Destiny Bush, 28 and Keyata Bush, 27, both of Chattanooga were taken into custody on Tuesday.

Brittany Woodley, 27, of Chattanooga was arrested this past weekend. According to the arrest affidavit, she identified the Bush’s as has co-suspects.

The Bush’s are both facing criminal charges that include theft and multiple counts of contributing of a delinquency of a minor.

Both women have criminal convictions involving theft that dates back to 2008.

Woodley is also facing the same criminal charges plus three counts of child abuse and neglect.

According to police, the three women used Woodley’s children to steal close to $700 worth of merchandise from the Walmart on Gunbarrel Road.

When police began to close in, the women reportedly abandoned the children to get away from officers.

The children are now in protective custody.

Since WDEF first reported the incident, hundreds of WDEF followers on Facebook said Woodley should not get her kids back. But WDEF followers don’t dictate reunification. That power is reserved for the juvenile justice system.

Hamilton County Juvenile Judge Robert Philyaw could not specifically comment on the case against Woodley. But generally, Philyaw was able to explain the process of family reunification.

In general, the court system initiates what’s called a permanency plan that involves the child protection services, counselors and the troubled parents.

"It may be that they seek counseling; mental health help, substance abuse help; it may be that they show they have a home that’s suitable," Philyaw said.

The list of requirements can be long depending on the circumstances that separated a parent from a child. How well parents show behavioral improvement dictates whether or not they can be reunited with their kids.

"The parents have to step up and show that they want to work that plan in a meaningful way and that they’re serious about it; working toward that goal of reunification of the family,"Philyaw said.

The process can take months to complete. In many cases, reunification is granted. But in some extreme cases reunification is denied.

"Tragically and unfortunately, sometimes there are those situations where reunification is not going to happen. What we see most of the time is a parent just can’t knock a serious drug habit or some other reasons; sometimes they just give up. Sometimes, they just say I don’t want to be a parent anymore," Philyaw said.

Categories: Crime, Local News

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