‘Please don’t let her go’: Rock Hill mother faults school for role in child abduction

WBTV Investigates: Mother of two children recovered by law enforcement Monday speaks for the first time
A local mom was reunited with her children after they were illegally taken by their father, prompting police to issue an alert.
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 7:17 PM EST
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - The call Tabitha Carson got from staff at her daughter’s school Monday immediately set off alarm bells.

An employee at Oakdale STEAM Elementary in Rock Hill was calling to tell Carson her daughter’s father was at the school to pick the girl up.

There was just one problem. A judge had ordered the girl’s father, Jovan Orlando Bradshaw, could not have any custody of her.

An order awarding sole custody to Carson was entered in August, months after Carson’s son was taken from school in May by Bradshaw, who is also the boy’s father.

Carson hadn’t seen her son in roughly seven months.

“I’m begging her on the phone ‘please, please please, don’t give her to him, I’ll never see her again,’” Carson recalled in an interview. “I haven’t seen, I haven’t gotten my child back yet. I haven’t gotten the first one back yet. Please don’t let her go.’”

Previous: Troopers locate two missing Rock Hill children during traffic stop

Carson said she raced to the school and called 911, where she presented Rock Hill police with her court order awarding her sole custody of both children.

After speaking with Carson and reviewing her paperwork, Rock Hill Police issued an alert for Bradshaw.

Hours later, the N.C. State Highway Patrol stopped Bradshaw on I-85 in Orange County. He had both kids in the car.

Bradshaw is facing two charges of custodial interference, a spokesman for Rock Hill Police said in a release on Monday.

But Carson called WBTV out of frustration that both her kids were taken from school, despite a court order, on two different occasions.

Rock Hill Schools spokeswoman Lindsay Machak declined to discuss specifics of Carson’s case, citing student confidentiality limitations, but said the district can only operate with the information they have regarding child custody orders.

“When a court issues a custody order it is the parent’s responsibility to bring it to school so that we can put it into the student’s file,” Machak told WBTV.

But Carson disputes the school’s claim.

“I gave y’all paperwork, y’all should have paperwork,” Carson recalled of her conversation with the school.

After speaking with WBTV on Tuesday night, and after WBTV contacted Rock Hill Schools for this story, Carson received a call and letter from the school’s principal telling her she was banned from the school except to drop off and pick up her children.

The letter cited her behavior on Monday--after her second child had been illegally taken by their father--as a reason for the ban.

Machak, the school spokeswoman, acknowledged a follow-up question from WBTV late Wednesday afternoon about the letter but did not provide any additional information.

A spokesman for Rock Hill Police did not respond to a request sent Wednesday seeking an interview, comment or additional records related to this incident.

WBTV’s investigation into the lack of safeguards in place by both the school and police that led to her children being illegally taken is ongoing.