Enfield, N.Y. — Last Wednesday, representatives from the Tompkins County Department of Social Services went to a trailer park in Enfield.

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Leonard Thorne, 38, had been in Family Court the day before. Thorne had been charged with child neglect. As a result, he was supposed to turn over his two children — ages 4 and 2 — to social services workers.

DSS brought law enforcement with them to Thorne’s home that Wednesday morning. But when they arrived, the father had vanished, according to Senior Investigator Jody Coombes of the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office. The children were missing, too.

A warrant was issued for Thorne’s arrest. With the children missing, officials then also decided to issue the Amber Alert.

“Because he was not there and did not turn over custody of his children, they issued a warrant,” Investigator Coombes said. “Then it appeared he had fled and we issued the Amber Alert.”

As reported last week, the Amber Alert proved a success: Both children were recovered after being spotted by a quick-thinking TCAT bus driver. (The chain of events leading to the Amber Alert’s issuance had not been previously reported.) Thorne was then arraigned on the child neglect charges in Family Court.

The case is being processed through family — rather than criminal — court, according to Coombes, which limits the amount of information that can be made public.

Thorne, however, could still face jail time in connection with the alleged abduction, according to the investigator.

Thorne said he believes the mother of the children lives in Illinois. The children are now under the care of DSS.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.