By Jimmie Ferguson

Killeen Daily Herald

The manhunt was on Friday for a mother who snatched her 8-month-old daughter from the babys custodial parents.

A warrant for interference with child custody was issued Friday for Melanie Boaz Maskunas, 23, by Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke, said Bell County Sheriff Dan Smith in a news release.

Smith said his office was notified Thursday of the incident, and the investigation revealed that the maternal parent failed to regain custody of her 8-month-old daughter, Megan Paige Maskunas, per a Bell County District Court order.

The sheriff believes the mother is driving a two-tone green 2001 Ford Explorer with Texas license plate number X44SHL and might be in the Killeen-Harker Heights area, possibly en route to North Carolina.

The baby is described as being 18 to 23 inches tall, about 23 pounds with blond hair and green eyes. Last seen, she was wearing a pink, peach and yellow sundress with cross back straps.

Smith said an Amber Alert was declined by Austin Department of Public Safety because the parental rights had not been terminated by the court order.

Toni Maskunas, the grandmother and custodial parent, along with her husband, Antony Muskunas, said the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notified her Friday that the organization had the information on its Web site and was sending out fliers throughout the state of North Carolina.

Melanie Muskunas is from Yadkinville, N.C., said Toni Maskunas, noting that the childs father is in jail.

Toni Maskunas said she is very concerned for the welfare of her granddaughter, because the child has severe asthma and no medication with her.

The mother, Melanie Dawn Nugent Boaz Maskunas, is believed to have taken the child following a hearing in the court of District Judge Martha Jane Trudo, who denied the mother custody Tuesday due to her mental state, Toni Mask-unas said.

As soon as the court session was over, Toni Maskunas said her daughter-in-law left the court and went to the baby-sitter in Harker Heights and took the baby.

Toni Maskunas said her daughter-in-law is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 175 pounds. Last seen, she was wearing a light purple dress with white flowers on it and brown sandals.

Because of telephone calls she had received in the past couple of days, Toni Maskunas believes Melanie Maskunas still might have been in the Killeen-Harker Heights area.

She has called to say she will bring the baby back when she is ready to do so, the grandmother said. All the telephone numbers are Killeen and Harker Heights numbers but are untraceable.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Melanie Maskunas or the baby is requested to contact the Bell County Sheriffs Department at (254) 933-5412 or the Maskunases at 526-5856, 466-0114 or 535-1504.

Please help us, and God bless you all, said Toni Maskunas, noting she will be placing flyers throughout the local area.

Contact Jimmie Ferguson at

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