Police searching for 4 Virginia children abducted by their mother in August

Melody Bannister was last seen with her four children August 20. (Stafford County Sheriff's Office via WWBT)

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. (WTHR) - Police in Virginia are searching for four children who they believe to be in danger after they were abducted by their mother four months ago.

Police in Stafford County began investigating 34-year-old Melody Bannister in June when she told deputies the children were being abused by their father. Those allegations were determined to be unfounded, but a short time later, Bannister went on a planned vacation with the children and never returned.

The Bannister children are 13-year-old Genevieve, 12-year-old Janelle, 11-year-old Vivienne and 7-year-old Peter.

According to WWBT, a court in Virginia granted the father of the children custody, but Bannister refused to return the children to Virginia. She then petitioned the courts in Alabama to give her custody in that state, but again, was ordered to return the children to Virginia.

She refused and left Alabama with the children August 20 and hasn't been seen since, WWBT reported. Since then, police say the woman and children may have been seen at several locations in eight states, including Alabama, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Police said recent developments lead them to believe the children may be in danger.

Bannister is wanted for felony violation of a court order, four misdemeanor charges of abduction and filing a false police report, also a misdemeanor.

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