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Escape from CPS

April 4, 2009 permalink

A Nebraska family, questioned by child protectors, has escaped to South Dakota.



Published Saturday April 4, 2009

Missing family back in Nebraska, hiding


A missing northeast Nebraska family may have returned home, but it doesn't sound as if they came back to be found.

The Knox County, Neb., Sheriff's Office in a statement Friday said that Rowena Schade called her mother earlier in the day to say that she, her husband and two children had returned to northeast Nebraska to retrieve another vehicle. She also told her mother, Sandy Epstein of Creighton, Neb., that the couple had "another plan" if that didn't work.

Matthew and Rowena Schade with Devon and Sean
Missing are Matthew and Rowena Schade and her two children, Devon, 11, (left) and Sean, 8, whom Matthew had adopted.

The Schades fled their rural Creighton home March 20 after a sheriff's deputy interviewed them about allegations of abuse. Rowena Schade told her mother Friday that they left because they were worried that social services authorities would take their two children, Devon, 11, and Sean, 8.

Court documents filed March 24 by the Knox County Sheriff's Office indicate that Rowena had told family members that her husband was abusive and controlling and that she wanted to leave. The documents say that Matthew Schade had taken the children out of school in January and had been home-schooling them. He also had talked of "taking the whole family and live off the land," according to the records.

Nebraska/South Dakota Map

The couple appears to have driven back to Nebraska from the Black Hills of South Dakota in a stolen pickup truck. The truck, which was reported stolen in the area where the family's car was discovered, was found abandoned in a grove of trees about one mile west of Brunswick, Neb. The couple may have exchanged it for a 1994 red Jeep with Nebraska license plate number 12F982.

According to the Sheriff's Office statement, Rowena Schade told her mother that the family would go "where no one would ever find them" if their other plans don't work out.

The stolen pickup truck was discovered near Brunswick about 11:30 a.m. Friday, according to the Pennington County, S.D., Sheriff's Office. Matthew's father, Chester Schade, lives in Brunswick. He could not be reached for comment.

Because the Schade family has returned to Nebraska, South Dakota authorities have called off their search of the Black Hills, where the Schades were believed to have been.

Schade family car
The family car found in South Dakota

Friday, Knox County Sheriff Jim Janecek called on the Schades to contact authorities.

"We are urging Matt and Rowena (Schade) to call the Sheriff's Office so we can end this search and resolve the situation," the statement read.

Authorities have said they are uncertain whether Rowena and the children went willingly. The children are Rowena's from previous relationships, but Matthew Schade has adopted them

World-Herald staff writer John Ferak contributed to this report.

• Contact the writer: 444-1102,

Source: Omaha World-Herald

Addendum: The family returned to police custody on April 6. Both parents were on probation, and violated their probation to save their children. This is one more case illustrating that accepting probation to settle a charge is a sure way to lose your kids.



Missing Nebraska family surrenders; parents held

(CNN) -- A Nebraska couple missing along with their children since last month surrendered to police and were taken into custody Monday, authorities said in a statement.

Matthew and Rowena Schade, along with their children, met with Knox County Sheriff Jim Janecek Monday about 10:50 a.m. according to the written statement from Janecek's office.

"The family turned themselves over to law enforcement officers from the Knox County Sheriff's Office and the Nebraska State Patrol," the statement said. "Matthew Schade was arrested on an Antelope County warrant for violation of probation and Rowena is being held on a detainer from the Nebraska Department of Probation."

A determination on the placement of the children, a daughter, 11, and a son, 8, will be made after interviews with child welfare workers from the state Department of Health and Human Services, the sheriff's statement said.

Both Matthew and Rowena Schade were on probation -- he in Antelope County, and she in Pierce County, officials in both counties told CNN. Antelope County Attorney Michael Long told CNN Matthew Schade was wanted for violation of probation and failure to report a change of address.

The Schade family was last seen on March 20 in Knox County. Janecek said they disappeared after an officer went to their home on a domestic abuse complaint.

Knox County is near the Nebraska-South Dakota border. Authorities in both states on Friday suspended a search for the family after a relative told authorities he had spoken with them and they were unharmed.

Authorities thought they might be in Nebraska, after a brush truck they believed the couple stole from a South Dakota volunteer fire department was found abandoned in Antelope County on Friday. A brush truck is a type of small fire truck.

Schade's father, Chet Schade, contacted the Knox sheriff's office on Thursday afternoon. He confirmed he had spoken with all four family members and said they were alive and well.

Searchers had been searching for the family in South Dakota's Black Hills until it was determined the couple possibly made their way back to Nebraska.

Investigators thought the Schades might have gone camping on U.S. Forest Service property in the Black Hills. Schade had visited the area in the past, and law officers found the family's Ford Taurus on Tuesday in Silver City, South Dakota.

Source: CNN