Mother of missing Austin students arrested in Florida; girls are safe, police say

Nov 15, 2017
Ralph Barrera/Ralph Barrera
Three missing sisters, two of whom were taken from Austin school district campuses, were found safe Thursday in Florida. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

6:30 p.m. update: A woman accused of abducting her daughters from Austin schools Tuesday has been detained in Florida and the girls are safe, Austin school police officials said Thursday. 

AISD police did not say where exactly Sarah Marcella Jordan, 38, was arrested. She is charged with interference with child custody. 

Police say Jordan and her 16-year-old daughter, who was not an Austin student, went to Oak Hill Elementary School Tuesday, searching for Jordan’s youngest daughter, 10. 

The youngest girl had been in state custody since Nov. 3, after her father, Anthony Joseph Jordan II, 46, was accused of sexual assault. Details on that case were not immediately available. 

A teacher told police the 10-year-old was outside of the school when the girl saw her oldest sister and ran to meet her. They hugged, and the teenager told the younger girl they needed to go and started to walk away with her, according to Sarah Jordan’s arrest affidavit. The teacher intervened, blocking their path and told them they couldn’t leave, the affidavit said. 

Both the teacher and the teen were holding onto the 10-year-old, when a woman, who police believe was Sarah Jordan, approached them. Jordan grabbed the teacher by the arm, “physically removed her grip” from the girl, and told the teacher, “Go ahead and stop me,” before fleeing with the girls, the affidavit said.

A third daughter, a 13-year-old, also had been missing since Tuesday, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She is a student at O. Henry Middle School and also has been in state custody since Nov. 3. Details on how she went missing were not immediately available. 

Austin school district police officials said the girls’ father was not with the family when Sarah Jordan was arrested Thursday.