A Child Protective Services caseworker has been arrested for official misconduct and obstruction of justice after a kidnapping attempt gone wrong.
According to court documents, on Dec. 2, 2016, Indiana Child Protective Services removed two minor children from a home and placed them in foster care, because the children failed a drug test.
On Dec. 14, 2016, a CPS caseworker Irene Hapner and Warsaw Police officer Paul Heaton went to the home of the children’s mother, Angela D. Adams, 39, in Pierceton. The purpose of the home visit was to check on the children’s safety. During the visit, Heaton observed prescription medication out in the open where the children could access it.
On Jan. 1, the foster parents watching the Adams’s children found an email on one of the children’s laptop that stated, “I tried to escape last night with (Angela Adams) in a vehicle and drive away.”
The next day, police and another CPS caseworker met with the foster parents who advised Hapner, 46, of North Webster, took the children for a home visit with their great aunt. During the visitation, one of the children obtained a cell phone.
The foster parents further advised that during the early morning hours of Dec. 31, 2016, they found one of the children had packed a backpack with a laptop and a stuffed animal they found stored in their garage. They believed this was a plan for the child to run away. The foster parents also noticed a vehicle drive past their residence very slowly around the same time.
The foster parents provided the cell phone the child had brought home and the laptop computer.
Officers obtained a search warrant for the laptop and found the email that had been sent on Jan. 1, stating the child was running away from the home. Officers also found the last phone call placed on the cell was to Angela Adams.
Hapner was interviewed by police and admitted to texting and having phone conversations with Adams on both her work and personal cell phones. She also advised the home visit she arranged with the children’s great aunt was not authorized by CPS.
Hapner further advised the visit lasted for two hours and was not stopped when the children’s mother arrived unannounced with two other adult individuals.
Officers took Hapner’s personal cell phone into their custody. Hapner had changed her cell phone around the holidays, but had the same cell phone number.
Officers obtained a search warrant for Adams cell phone and found over 250 text messages between Adams and Hapner’s personal cell phone including messages that occurred on the day of the unauthorized visit that indicated Adams knew about the visit.
Hapner was arrested Tuesday, Jan. 17, and booked into the Kosciusko County Jail on felony charges of official misconduct and obstruction of justice. Her bond is set at $5,250.