November 24, 2021

Pearl officer commended for role in saving kidnapped child from Alabama

Therese Apel

Pearl Police Officer Donell Reynolds

A Pearl police officer has received high praise for his work in finding and helping to rescue a child who had been kidnapped from Alabama, officials said.

Pearl Officer Donell Reynolds was westbound on I-20 when he saw a vehicle matching a Be On the Lookout (BOLO) bulletin that had been disseminated to law enforcement regarding a child believed to have been taken in a small blue car with an unknown tag number by two armed men.

Noticing that the vehicle had an Oklahoma tag and that the driver displayed uncomfortable driving behavior once he got behind him, he pulled the vehicle over.

The child, a little girl, had been forcibly abducted from her home, according to Alabama TV station WBRC. 6:30 p.m. Family members told the police the child’s 19-year-old uncle kidnapped her to to take her back to Mexico to be with her father, or possibly to Honduras where there were other family members.

Police told WBRC there is an ongoing feud between the parents.

Authorities said there were four passengers in the vehicle. Reynolds asked the driver who was in the car, and was told that one passenger was the driver’s son, and the other two people were “picked up in Alabama”.

Reynolds called for backup and the officers were able to get the passengers out of the vehicle and into custody. The child was tended to and eventually was taken back to Alabama to be with her family.

“Reynolds was recognized last week in a virtual ceremony by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas,” according to Pearl Police Department’s Facebook oage. “Sec. Mayorkas credited the quick notification made by law enforcement in Alabama and the sharp eyes and expertise of Officer Reynolds in not only the quick capture but safe outcome for the child.”

Lead investigator Rey Olivo wrote a letter about Reynolds’ work to Chief Dean Scott. It described the situation in detail.

“To Chief Dean Scott:

On November 4, 2021, a lookout bulletin was issued from Birmingham, Al regarding a kidnapped child. About 9:05 p.m., Birmingham police learned the suspects and the child were near the Mississippi state line. They relayed that information to law enforcement agencies in Mississippi to be on the lookout for a blue small sized car, unknown tag number, traveling with a kidnapped Hispanic four year old child and two armed Hispanic men. At approximately 2145, Officer Donell Reynolds, observed a light blue Ford Fusion pass his location on westbound 120. When the vehicle passed, he was able to see that the car had an out of state tag, this was when he got behind the vehicle and follow it. Once behind the vehicle, he was able to see that the license plate read LHQ671, out of Oklahoma. While observing the vehicle, he noticed that there were three occupants, and possibly a fourth. While behind the vehicle, Officer Reynolds observed several indicators of nervousness and deception. Due to the similarities of the description of the vehicles and possible suspects, along with the indicators, Officer Reynolds initiated a felony traffic stop. Once the vehicle stopped, Officer Reynolds commanded the driver to exit the vehicle and walk to his patrol car with his hands up. The driver complied with the verbal commands and walked to his patrol car, where he was detained, patted down, and placed in the rear seat of a patrol car. After being asked general questions, the driver stated that he was traveling from Alabama with his son, an unknown Hispanic male, and a three year old little girl.

Once the driver was secure, Officer Reynolds turned his attention back to the vehicle. The passenger was given verbal commands to exit the vehicle, in English and in Spanish. After failing to comply, Officer Reynolds led a team of officers, who had arrived during the interview, up to the car. He was able to tactfully and safely remove the passenger out of the vehicle. Once out of the vehicle, he was able to detain the passenger and officers placed him in the rear of a patrol car. In the process, the kidnapped four year old girl was safely rescued. She was removed from the vehicle and placed in the front seat of a patrol car, while being tended to.

Due to Officer Reynolds quick response and experienced professionalism as an officer, his actions led to the safe return of the four year old girl back to her mother. Officer Reynolds’ constant display of dedication to his job, diligence, and leadership lays the foundation for other officers to follow. Officer Reynolds has proven to be an asset to the Pearl Police Department and the City of Pearl as a whole.

Detective Rey Olivo”

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