Four Family Members Charged in Wheeling Child Abduction

Six-year-old boy taken Thursday from father’s home in Fulton

Photo by Heather Ziegler Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger releases details Friday morning regarding the arrest of four people in connection with a child abduction that happened late Thursday.

WHEELING — A 6-year-old boy is safe and four of his relatives, including his mother, have been arrested after the child was forcibly removed from his father’s home in the Fulton area of Wheeling on Thursday night.

The Wheeling Police Department and the West Virginia State Police issued an Amber Alert at about 4 a.m. Friday for the missing boy who officials believed was taken to a home of maternal relatives in Marshall County. Reportedly, a member of the boy’s mother’s family used an ax to break down the door at the father’s home. The boy was then placed in a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado, which then left the scene.

During a press conference Friday morning at police headquarters,Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said the boy was found safe and unharmed about 90 minutes after the Amber Alert was issued. The boy was found with his mother, Brecca Shian Steele, at a Moundsville residence.

On Friday, the boy was being evaluated by Child Protective Services as the investigation is in progress.

Although the boy was taken at about 9 p.m. Thursday, Schwertfeger said his department and State Police officials agreed to search the Marshall County area before issuing the Amber Alert because they believed the boy was with relatives there.

“Knowing they were close maternal relatives, other than what transpired at the father’s residence, we did not necessarily believe the child was in any danger,” the chief said.

Schwertfeger said Moundsville police officers found one of four suspects, and shortly after that, three others allegedly involved in the abduction turned themselves into Moundsville police.

Steele, 25, of Moundsville, was charged with conspiracy.

Also arrested were her mother, Valerie Kay Hall, 45; her father, Val Andrew Winer Sr., 68; and her brother, Val Andrew Winer Jr., 44. All are of Moundsville. Hall and the Winers were each charged with abduction, burglary and conspiracy.

“I’m glad the child is well,” Schwertfeger said. “I’m not happy with what the boy had to experience last night. Those charges are warranted.”

The chief thanked his officers, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, State Police and Moundsville Police Department for their assistance in the case.


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