Cassandra Edmonds arrested, Le-Rail Johnson found safe

2-year-old Le-rail Johnson has been found safe after authorites spent the last day trying to find him.

Woodbury, Minnesota police arrested 36-year-old Cassandra Edmonds Saturday after disappearing with the toddler earlier in the week.

Riviera Beach Police say Edmonds was found at a shopping mall in Woodbury, Minnesota. Investigators found her by tracking pings from her cell phone.

Le-rail was found in Duluth, Minnesota, about 150 miles away, with a family member, according to police.

Edmonds' youngest sister said she knew all along that the boy would be found safe.She did not want to be identified.

When the amber alert went out on Friday, Edmonds' sister says she knew Edmonds was wrong to take off with Le-rail, telling no one, not even her where they were going.

"Im hoping that everybody understands that she wasn't trying to do anything wrong even though the state feels like she did something wrong."

Just days before Edmonds disappeared with the boy, investigators with DCF say they had taken her two nephews from her following a tip made to the Florida Abuse Hotline. They are in the process of being sheltered, according to DCF.

Edmonds' sister says Edmonds didn't want Le-rail to be taken from her too. Police say Le-rail is not related to Edmonds, but Edmonds' sister says she was caring for him.

"All she was trying to do was keep him safe," said Edmonds' sister, saying she was worried about what would happen to him if taken by the state.

"He could be living from one place to another. He might get with somebody that's not loving and caring. And nobody wants that."

Le-rail's mother, Samantha Johnson, is in a Minnesota jail. Police have not confirmed why Le-rail was in Edmonds' care.

Minnesota court records obtained by the Contact 5 Investigators reveal a 2013 child support case involving Cassandra Edmonds and Samantha Johnson.

On Friday, a source close to the investigation confirmed to Contact 5 that Samantha Johnson named in that child support case is the biological mother of 2 year old Le-Rail. It is not known, however, if this child support case involved Le-rail.

"She really cares for this little boy and she wouldn't have a child that somebody wouldn't want her to have," Edmonds' sister said.

Edmonds is charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse for the two kids taken away from her.

DCF will now be determining where the child will go next.

Child Protective investigators have requested that Le-Rail be sheltered following his recovery.

Edmonds will be extradited back to Florida.


Contact 5 Investigator Katie Lagrone contributed to this report.