WALNUT SPRINGS, Texas – Two children are recovering in the hospital and the man accused of abducting them is dead after a two-vehicle crash in Central Texas, according to the Bosque County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Trace Hendricks said the incident stemmed from a report of two missing children in Walnut Springs that deputies received Friday.
Officials made contact with the children’s mother, who said her son, Cody Lowery, 7, and daughter, Jessi Lowery, 8, were missing. She believed a family member, Randall Thurman, 34, had abducted them, Hendricks said.
Deputies said they found out that Thurman was a registered sex offender and began notifying other counties in Central Texas as well as the Houston Police Department, where he had a home.
At around 1:40 a.m. Saturday, Cody was located at a convenience store on Interstate 35 in Hill County, according to the Hill County Sheriff’s Department and the Itasca Police Department.
Deputies said Cody had run into the convenience store for help and was bound with clear tape around his throat and arms. Cody told deputies that Thurman had removed him from the car and wrapped him in tape. Thurman then left with Jessi still in the car, authorities said. Cody was transported by EMS to a hospital for treatment.
An AMBER Alert was then issued for Jessi Lowery by the Bosque County Sherriff’s Office.
The Hill County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call at around 9:15 a.m. by a resident who saw Thurman’s car that was listed on the AMBER alert sitting between a group of trees.
Hill County and Bosque County deputies began searching the area for the car. Hill County deputies said they saw the car and attempted to conduct a traffic stop of the car but the vehicle sped away.
A pursuit began with Thurman traveling northbound on FM 171 toward Cleburne. Deputies said just inside the Johnson County line, Thurman crossed over the center lane of the road and continued to travel at high speeds towards an oncoming car. Deputies said they believed the maneuver was intentional.
Thurman collided his car with the oncoming car in the intersection of FM 191 and Johnson County Road 302, officers said.
Hendricks said Thurman died as a result of the crash. The second driver also died at the scene.
Deputies said they found Jessi conscious in the front seat and she was able to communicate with officers. She was then taken by helicopter to an area medical facility for emergency treatment.
The investigation is ongoing.