Home News Columbus Woman Who Set off Statewide Kidnapping Search for 5-Month-Old Twins Sentenced...

Columbus Woman Who Set off Statewide Kidnapping Search for 5-Month-Old Twins Sentenced to Prison


As part of the plea, parties involved in the case have recommended a sentence of 20 years in prison for Nalah T. Jackson, 25.

“There is no greater responsibility than protecting our youth,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “This community watched in horror as Nalah Jackson preyed on two vulnerable babies. Today, she admitted her crime and agreed to spend 20 years in prison for her actions.” 

According to court documents, between Dec. 19, 2022, and Dec. 22, 2022, Jackson kidnapped two minor children in Columbus and traveled interstate with one of them. 

Specifically, close to 10pm on the night of Dec. 19, Jackson walked out of Donatos Pizza on North High Street in Columbus and drove away in a black Honda Accord that had been left running in the parking lot. Two twin five-month-old infants were buckled in the back seat. The infants’ mother was inside Donatos to pick up a delivery order at the time.

Over the next several hours, Jackson drove from Columbus to Dayton and to various other locations in central and western Ohio.

Jackson arrived at the Dayton International Airport close to 3am. She parked in an economy lot and left the infants in the car while she entered the airport. Jackson attempted to hire an Uber to find the stolen car in the economy lot, but could not pay, and ultimately found the stolen car on foot. After finding the vehicle, Jackson left one of the infants in the parking lot at approximately 4am. A passerby parking their vehicle saw the baby in his car seat wrapped in a quilt between two vehicles and alerted security.

After Jackson left the Dayton International Airport parking lot at high speeds, she traveled to Indianapolis with the second baby still in the vehicle.

She arrived at a Papa Johns Pizza on Indiana Avenue near the university district at approximately 8am on Dec. 20, and exited the stolen car on foot. She never returned to the vehicle, leaving the second baby strapped in his car seat in the back seat of the car.

The baby remained strapped in the car seat for the next two-and-a-half-days while family members, concerned citizens and law enforcement officers continued to search for him.

By happenstance, an Indianapolis woman encountered Jackson after she abandoned the stolen vehicle on Dec. 20. Jackson was selling stolen merchandise outside of a local gas station. The woman gave Jackson a ride to a nearby shopping plaza and gave Jackson her cell phone number in case Jackson came across any more holiday gifts for resale.

That night, the woman noticed several social media posts regarding the kidnapping and recognized Jackson as the alleged kidnapper. The woman called her cousin, and together they formulated a plan to meet up with Jackson to confirm her identity, recover the infant if possible and lead Jackson to law enforcement.

On Dec. 22, the women met up with Jackson, whom they traced to a local residence through a phone number Jackson had previously used to call one of them. The women confirmed that Jackson was the same person identified as the kidnapping suspect and drove her to several shopping centers in Indianapolis, all-the-while surreptitiously attempting to contact law enforcement in Columbus and Indianapolis.

Eventually, one of the women was able to route local law enforcement to their vehicle over the phone by pretending that she was speaking with her boyfriend and providing updates on her location. The women tried to signal to Indianapolis police that Jackson was the kidnapping suspect, and eventually told officers when they were removed from Jackson’s immediate presence.  Jackson provided a false name and another individual’s identification card to the officers. After some time, the officers confirmed Jackson’s identity and arrested her for kidnapping. After the arrest, they let the two women go without interviewing them about their time spent with Jackson.

The two women decided to continue searching for the missing infant. They discovered a bus schedule that Jackson left behind in the backseat of their vehicle and decided to focus their search on a bus route near the university district.

While driving around searching that area to no avail, and with driving conditions worsening quickly due to an impending snowstorm, the women decided to get something to eat before heading home. As they were pulling into a Blaze Pizza, they noticed a black Honda Accord at the nearby Papa Johns and noticed snow had already accumulated on the car.

They drove up to the stolen car and attempted to open the back door, which was locked. The driver’s door did open. Due to an overwhelming foul smell coming from the car, and the silence of the baby, one of the women screamed, assuming the baby was deceased. Upon hearing the scream, the baby alerted and began crying. One of the women removed the baby from his car seat and began comforting him.

The women then noticed an empty Indianapolis police cruiser parked nearby and began looking for officers, who they found on their lunch break inside the Blaze Pizza. Indianapolis police then relocated to Papa Johns Pizza and took custody of the baby, taking him to a local hospital. The infant was treated for dehydration, heart abnormalities due to the dehydration, extreme diaper rash and skin deterioration due to him being buckled in a car seat for three days while sitting in his own excrement.

U.S. Attorney Parker acknowledged the numerous law enforcement agencies who have assisted in this case, including FBI offices in Columbus, Dayton and Indianapolis; the Columbus, Dayton, Huber Heights, Riverside, Vandalia, Dayton International Airport and Indianapolis police departments; the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; Ohio State Highway Patrol and U.S. Marshals Service’s Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SOFAST).

Assistant United States Attorneys Emily K. Czerniejewski and Noah R. Litton are representing the United States in this case.