PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pennsylvania woman charged with concealing the location of her twins from child welfare workers for the last 10 years now says the children are living with a family friend.
Patricia Fowler, 47, of Penn Hills, told WTAE-TV on Wednesday that Ivon and Inisha, a brother and sister who would be about 17 years old, have been living with friends in Georgia since they were 13.
But Penn Hills police Chief Howard Burton said Thursday that Fowler's newest claim is just another dead end that has yet to check out.
Fowler was charged last week with endangering the welfare of children, obstructing a child welfare investigation and concealing the whereabouts of the children.
Police filed the charges because they went to Fowler's home in suburban Pittsburgh on June 20 at the request of the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families to take all her children. They removed four children only to have the agency call back July 6 and tell police there should have been six children there.
State confidentiality laws prevent the child welfare agency from saying why the children were removed. Burton said the children were removed because Fowler didn't comply with unspecified conditions child welfare officials had placed on her.
For now, the twins remain missing. According to a criminal complaint, "The whereabouts of these children could not be verified for approximately 10 years by CYF."
Online court records don't list a defense attorney for Fowler.
She didn't return messages left on her home phone Tuesday when The Associated Press originally reported the charges against her. On Thursday, her home phone was disconnected.
Fowler told the station that her children have lived with a friend in Georgia since they were 13 and, before that, with a friend in North Carolina.
According to the criminal complaint, Fowler told police last month that the twins were being cared for by a South Carolina woman. But police said that woman never saw the children and didn't even know Fowler had twins.
Police say other relatives, including the twins' father, have been told by Fowler that the twins were living with an aunt in South Carolina.
Fowler at one point told police she actually had sold the children years ago for $2,000 each to a woman she met through a barroom acquaintance, only to recant when police told her that was illegal, Burton said.
Now, the chief said, Fowler's claims to the television station are more of the same: misinformation that doesn't check out.
The TV station reported that police reached Ivon through a phone number that Fowler gave investigators, but Burton said the phone number is the same one his investigators have called to no avail. The AP called the number, which is listed in the criminal complaint, and gotten a voicemail that hasn't been returned.
Burton also denied reports the twin boy has been located on Facebook.
"Someone sent a Facebook thing saying, 'I'm Ivon, I'm fine, no problem,'" Burton said. "But there's been no verification yet that it's him."