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LSSM's Legal Staff Works With Domestic Violence Cases Daily

Thursday July 28, 2011

Springfield, MO) -- A man says his one-year-old girl was safe in his care throughout the night as troopers issued an endangered person advisory.

The Missouri Highway Patrol sent out an alert saying the girl was taken by Charles Knapp after he broke into his ex-girlfriend's home, assaulted her and grabbed the baby.

It happened in Aldrich, Missouri around 2:00 a.m. Wednesday at E. 512th road.

Springfield police confirm the baby was located on the 1900 block of E. Monroe in Springfield.

They say a man was detained but released. Hours later, the father, 26 year-old Charles Knapp, showed up at KOLR10 with his baby girl, McKenzie.

He says no one was more surprised than he when he learned he was the subject of a manhunt. 

Knapp claims he did not assault the child's mother and has shared custody with her.  He says he's had McKenzie since Tuesday afternoon when he picked her up. He denies a dispute with her mother.

"All the accusations are false and that's why police released her into my custody," said Knapp.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said Knapp still had custody of his daughter. Although, it was still unclear who was supposed to have legal custody of the little girl.

"It takes again, a thorough review of the facts in each case to determine what's going on," said Kendall Seal, an attorney with Legal Services of Southern Missouri. "I think in a lot of these cases, you have a level of domestic violence at play, a level of manipulation at play."

Legal Services of Southern Missouri deals with domestic cases daily. This situation is not out of the ordinary for lawyers there.

"It's important that the court system, that law enforcement and the community respond in a clear direct way," said Seal.

A member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says the Polk County Sheriff's Office originally requested an Amber Alert be issued for the child. The patrol issued the endangered person advisory after talking with at least one investigator and deciding that the circumstances did not qualify for an Amber Alert.  To view the story visit