The FBI is now involved in the search for the seven brothers and one sister who were abducted by their parents during a supervised visit at a Queens children's agency earlier this week. The children, ages 11 months to 11 years, had been split up between three homes, and their mother Shanel Nadal allegedly texted one of the foster mothers, "I cannot live without my children. I cannot breathe without my children."
Police think that Nadal and boyfriend Nephra Payne took the children in a black Chevy Suburban on Monday. The seven boys are named after Payne— Nephra Payne, age 11; Nephra Ceo Payne, 10; Nephra Shalee Payn, 6; Nephra Umeek Payne, 5; Nephra Yahmen Payne, 4; Nephra John Payne, 9; and Nephra Rahsul Payne, 6—and the girl is 11-month-old Nefertiti Payne. According to the NY Times, "City officials had removed the children from their parents’ custody in 2009 because of accusations that Mr. Payne had abused his sons, and that Ms. Nadal had neglected them, according to two people with knowledge of their case who were not authorized to speak publicly. The children were divided among two foster homes, and then a third, when Nefertiti was born last September."
While Nadal seemed to be doing well during visits with some of her children, NBC New York reports, "NBC New York has learned that the Administration for Children's Services had doubts she was overcoming her issues and warned her last week they were starting to plan for the possibility of terminating her parental rights and putting the children up for adoption." It's suspected that the family may be headed to South Carolina.
The agency where the abduction occurred, Forestdale, is being investigated, because there should have been someone supervising Nadal's visit with her kids. But the Times notes, "Child advocates defended Forestdale, calling the agency a leader in the field with a strong record in improving parents’ child-rearing skills, particularly with fathers." The agency's executive director Anstiss Agnew said, "Imagine if someone took your children away from you. What would you do to get those children back?"
Nefertiti's foster mother, Barbara Emanuel, told the Post, “I’m trusting in God that she finds it in her heart to do the right thing... I guess she was desperate and looked for any opening" and added in a plea to Nadal, "Bring them back ... and let the system work.”