Stafford Woman in Parental Abduction Case Arrested in Indiana
By Public Information Officer Amanda Vicinanzo
February 12, 2020

Stafford, VA. A Stafford County woman who abducted her four children in June 2019 was arrested early Wednesday morning in Indiana with the assistance of a U.S. Marshals Service Task Force.

On February 12, 2020, at approximately 2:30 a.m., detectives with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office and members of the U.S. Marshals Service located Melody Bannister, 34, of Stafford and her four children in a vehicle at a Speedway gas station in Plainfield, Indiana.

The arrest followed a five month long joint investigation and nationwide search for Bannister and the children. The children have been identified as Genevieve Bannister, 13; Janelle Bannister, 12; Vivienne Bannister, 11; and Peter Bannister, 7.

The children were found safe in the vehicle and were turned over to the Department of Child Services. They are in the process of being reunified with their father.

Bannister was wanted out of Stafford County on a felony charge of violation of a court order, four misdemeanor abduction charges, and a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report. She is currently being held at the Hendricks County Jail in Indiana.