South Texas motel standoff connected to missing Indiana children ends peacefully Tuesday night; parents taken into custody

The three young siblings had been missing since last week before the hourslong Pearsall standoff.

SAN ANTONIO — Law enforcement converged on a motel in Pearsall, Texas, where an hourslong standoff ended with the arrests of two Indiana adults who were being sought for taking their three young children, whom they do not have custody of. 

The siblings  — 4-year-old Frankie, 3-year-old Queen and 1-year-old King — were also found at the Rio Frio Motel and taken into the custody of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), which took them for a medical evaluation before starting the process of returning them to family. 

The sibling’s disappearances prompted a Silver Alert in Indiana on Friday, where police said they believed their noncustodial parents, Willie Frank and Jessika Terrell, were taking them to Mexico.  Frank and Jessika Terrell were booked into the Frio County Jail Tuesday night, according to DPS. 

“Everyone surrendered peacefully,” said Texas DPS Spokesperson Orlando De Luna Jr. at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, more than seven hours after a failed traffic stop on a white van resulted in the suspects barricaded themselves and the kids in the motel. “Everyone walked out of the hotel, so there didn’t appear to be any injuries.”

The standoff began around 3 p.m. and eventually involved the efforts of FBI, Texas Troopers and Texas Rangers, as well as local and county authorities. Pearsall is a city of about 8,800 residents and located about 55 miles southwest of San Antonio. 

Video shared to KENS 5 by Corners News provides a daytime glimpse of the large police response earlier in the standoff. 

Police in Indiana said the parents met the siblings’ grandfather, who has custody of the children, at a restaurant for a meeting approved by the Department of Child Services. The grandfather said he went to the bathroom, but the children were gone by the time he returned. 

Authorities pinged the parents’ phones multiple times, pinpointing their location to Pearsall. 



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