COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — Suspected of stealing two cars and crashing them both, Dublin police detained high-profile kidnapping suspect Nalah Jackson weeks before police say she stole another car with 5-month-old twins inside.
The Columbus abductions on Dec. 19 of Ky'Air and Kason Thomas prompted a statewide amber alert. On Your Side Problem Solvers uncovered Dublin officers released Jackson two and a half weeks prior on Dec. 2 in their case instead of charging her with an initial felony and taking her to jail.
Columbus police released the name of kidnapping suspect Nalah Jackson early in their investigation of the Thomas twins' abduction. Officers said the homeless woman jumped in the car of the twins' mother while the mother was inside a Donatos picking up an order for Door Dash.
Ky'Air Thomas was found in his car seat the next day in freezing temperatures in a Dayton Airport parking lot. Found safe then Ky'Air died this past weekend due to what the family described as a feeding incident. Autopsy results are yet to be released.
His brother Kason Thomas was found safe three days after the kidnappings outside of a pizzeria in Indianapolis.
Less than three weeks prior to the abductions, nearly a dozen Dublin officers responded to a chaotic scene during a Friday evening commute near Bridge Park.
"She stole my car," one woman is seen telling a responding officer on video from his body camera. ABC 6 On Your Side Problem Solvers obtained more than nine hours of video from the scene that includes footage from a number of body-worn and dashboard cameras.
"She stole her car and ran the red light," another witness said of the chain of events that left four cars damaged and one car flipped on its side in front of a Dublin City School bus.
According to police reports obtained by Problem Solvers, Jackson was driving a car stolen earlier in the day from Columbus. She ran into another car in Dublin and flipped the stolen Volkswagen on its side. The driver of a Toyota came to Jackson's aid to help her to safety.
"She eventually stepped up and out of her window," the owner of the Toyota said. "As she was climbing down, I held onto her as she dropped out of the vehicle on the other side."
After that, police say Jackson jumped into her helper's Toyota and sped off down the road. While running a red light, Jackson was T-boned by a 16-year-old driver who had the green light. The stolen Toyota was totaled, and more witnesses told officers that Jackson started walking away from the second crash scene.
"She says she's pregnant, but I don't (know)," one witness said. "She says she's pregnant."
Officers then detained Jackson, who was wearing a blood-stained shirt from the crash.
"She's got a head injury out here," said the officer who detained Jackson. "She's bleeding pretty heavily. I'm with her and a nurse practitioner."
At that point, police say Jackson refused to give her name or tell the truth.
"This is crazy," Jackson is seen saying on the officer's body-camera video. "Somebody just hit me while I was walking across the street. I was just going to go get my dad some coffee."
The officer responded, "No, you weren't, and you're not going anywhere. Medics are here to check you out, but you are detained. You are not leaving the scene. Do you understand that?"
Officers boarded the ambulance with Jackson and went with her to Riverside Methodist Hospital. Within the hour, Dublin police identified Jackson, discovered she had a history of car thefts, had a protective order placed on her, and was cited to have "violent tendencies."
Officers are seen discussing felony charges at the scene and assured witnesses that Jackson would remain in custody.
"That is not a crash," one officer described at the scene. "That is a deliberate action. You know what I'm saying? She didn't not see it. She was trying to get away from a crime and smoked two people in an intersection."
However, Jackson faced no initial felony charges and was released by the end of the night.
In an email to Problem Solvers, a spokesperson for the city of Dublin stated, "Based on her injuries and that she was continuing to receive medical care, the Dublin Police Department directed her charges for a grand jury to decide rather than arresting and transporting her to jail on the day of the offense."
According to the Dublin Police Department's own policies obtained by Problem Solvers, the decision to summons and release or not shall be based on the seriousness of the offense, potential threat to the community, and the probability that the detainee will appear in court.
Officers are also encouraged to have detainees transported to hospitals with a detainee or security facility like Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Grant Medical Center or Ohio Health Doctors Hospital. Riverside Methodist Hospital is not on that list. Dublin police would have had to keep their own officers at Riverside Methodist for guard duty to keep Jackson detained until she was discharged.
Dublin police did not assign officers to guard Jackson. Instead, the department filed six traffic and misdemeanor charges on Jackson six days later on Dec. 8. She was summoned to appear in court on Dec. 16 but Jackson failed to show up.
A warrant was filed for Jackson's arrest. However, the administrative judge for municipal court told Problem Solvers that arrest warrants for misdemeanors are not given the same priority as felonies.
With no one likely looking for her, police say Jackson abducted Ky'Air and Kason Thomas three days later in another stolen car.
Four days after the abductions on Dec. 23, Dublin police handed over its felony case to the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office.