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Mother of girl at center of AMBER Alert from Bosque County arrested, charged with child endangerment

The woman was charged with two counts of child endangerment after her two children were abducted on Friday, Sept. 24.
Credit: JUN2 / Thinkstock

BOSQUE COUNTY, Texas — The mother of two kids who were abducted in Bosque County was charged with two counts of child endangerment, the Bosque County Sheriff's Office announced Monday evening.

Mandi Elizabeth Russell was arrested in connection the abduction of the two minors, ages 7 and 8, that happened the evening of Friday, Sept. 24.

The sheriff's office first responded to a residence in Walnut Springs after receiving a report of two missing children on Sept. 24. Deputies made contact with Russell after arriving on scene and told officials the two children were missing and were suspected to be with a family member, Randall Thurman. 

As the sheriff's office began to investigate, they found that Thurman was a registered sex offender. The sheriff's office then called in additional officers and investigators and issued a "be on the lookout" notification to surrounding counties.

At about 1:40 a.m., the sheriff's office said it was notified that the 7-year-old boy was found at a convenience store on I-35 in Hill County and was in custody of Hill County deputies and the Itasca Police Department. According to the BCSO, officers said the boy had run into the store looking for help and had tape wrapped around his throat and arms. 

The boy told deputies that Thurman had taken him out of the car and wrapped him in tape before fleeing with the 8-year-old girl. The boy was treated for his injures by paramedics and then taken to a local health care provider for further treatment.

6 News is not naming the boy or girl who were abducted.

BCSO investigators then issued an AMBER Alert for the girl, and continued investigating with the help of Texas DPS troopers and the Texas Rangers. The McLennan County Sheriff's Office and the FBI also joined.

RELATED: AMBER Alert: Missing Bosque County child found alive after crash that killed 2, including suspect, officials say

Hours later, around 9:15 a.m., a Hill County resident saw a car sitting between trees on his property and recognized it as the car described in the AMBER Alert. He contacted the Hill County Sheriff's Office and the BCSO, which then arrived on scene to try and find the vehicle. Upon locating the suspect vehicle, HCSO deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but Thurman fled and a pursuit ensued, traveling northbound on FM 171 toward Cleburne, according to officials. 

Once in Johnson County, pursuing deputies reportedly saw Thurman cross the center lane of the road and continue driving toward an oncoming vehicle at a high speed, officials said. Thurman then collided with the oncoming car at the intersection of FM 191 and Johnson County Road 302, killing the second driver on impact, per the sheriff's office.

Thurman also died in the crash, according to officials. 

The 8-year-old girl was found in the front passenger seat of the car and was conscious and able to speak with officers at the scene. She was flown to a hospital for emergency treatment. 

The Texas Rangers, Texas DPS and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office conducted an investigation at the crash scene. Multiple other agencies assisted the Bosque County Sheriff's Office with the investigation. 

The investigation is ongoing at this time.


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