HOUSTON -- The baby at the center of an Amber Alert is safe and in the custody of Houston police. The father and grandmother of 9-month-old Caleb Zachary Hendricks contacted CW 39 NewsFix to give their side of the story after claims were made that the boy was taken without permission. The family says those allegations are false, and family members took the boy to an HPD substation Friday afternoon.
CW 39 NewsFix was the only station to witness the exchange.
The Texas Center for the Missing issued a Houston Regional Amber Alert for Caleb, who was last seen on May 8 when his mother, Carra Phillips, said the non-custodial father broke into her home on Aldine Westfield Rd. in Spring, TX, and took the child, threatening to harm the child and himself. The father is Zachary Alphonse Hendricks.
"On his way out he told me that if I contacted the police that he was going to kill himself and the baby. At first I said, 'Well he is just saying that so I won't call the police on him,' but when someone makes a threat like that against a child, it has to be taken seriously," Phillips said.
Phillips said she spoke with a retired cop, a former church member, who told her to contact authorities. Phillips says that is when she contacted the Missing Children's Department and they decided to move forward with the Amber Alert.
Phillips made a public plea, asking for the safe return of her son.
"If you're watching this, please bring Caleb back home. I've pleaded, and I've asked and I'm asking again. That's my main concern. Everything else comees secondary to Caleb coming home," she said.
Phillips also told NewsFix that her time away from Caleb was stressful.
"Before I contacted Missing Children last night, I felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown," she said.
But Hendricks' family said that Phillips' story does not add up.
"We have text messages and other social media that shows that she does know, and did know, that Caleb was with his father," Hendricks' cousin, Kaleb Parms, said. "It's one of those things that she made up something, she was in her emotions and like I said, we have text messages that show she had texted him that following Monday asking 'Hey, where's my Mother's Day gift?' So if you really felt that your child was in danger, the last thing you should want to ask is where your Mother's Day gift is."
Parms went on to describe the other text messages between the mother and father.
"Two days after that, which was Wednesday, she texted him asking how Caleb was doing. He said he's doing fine as always and is asleep, and she replied that she is sleeping peacefully. As if to say , 'I am glad I have a break.'"
Parms and Caleb's paternal grandmother, Laurie Hendricks, took the infant to the HPD substation at 6310 Richmond Ave. on Friday afternoon.
The grandmother said she came down from Louisiana earlier this week and had a pleasant time with her son and grandson. She was shocked to learn about the allegations against her son.
"I took the baby shopping, along with my son, this is beyond me. There is no sign that my son would hurt his baby or himself. It's not that serious," Laurie Hendricks said.
She had stern words for Phillips about this entire ordeal.
"The confusion and the mess that you and him have going on is totally irrelevant. This was unnecessary and uncalled for," she said.
The family says Hendricks and Phillips have a rocky relationship, and the Amber Alert was Phillips' way of lashing out.
NewsFix obtained copies of the alleged text messages, which appears to show a conversation between Phillips and Hendricks. NewsFix also obtained copies of a Facebook chat between Phillips and another one of Hendricks' ex-girlfriends, which shows that Phillips was angry with her ex.
In an interview with NewsFix, Phillips said that Hendricks assaulted her in Aug. 2015 and was only given probation for that offense. NewsFix obtained documents showing that the assault charge in 2015 was dismissed. The father said Phillips made false allegations against him in that case.
Zachary Hendricks and his attorney are currently planning to go to authorities and talk with investigators about the case. He says he wants his name to be cleared.
Zachary Hendricks says he loves his son, and has done nothing wrong.