BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - On Sunday, officers with the Benton Police Department took a report of a possible abduction of a juvenile. It was determined that a 6-year-old child's noncustodial father had taken her without consent from the mother.
It determined during the course of the investigation that the father, identified as Thomas Bunievatz, 31, of Texas, had permission to have the child for a short time frame while visiting Benton, but that he didn't return with her as agreed upon. Information obtained by detectives indicated the child was with Bunievatz and his fiancé, Tobie Phillips, 38, of Texas, and that they had transported the child to Texas.
The child was returned to the maternal grandmother on Tuesday in Winnsboro, Texas, but Bunievatz and Phillips weren't located at the time. Detectives obtained warrants for both suspects for Interference with Child Custody and provided law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Marshal's office with the information.
Bunievatz was later apprehended on Wednesday by agents with the U.S. Marshal's office in Grayson County, Texas. Bunievatz is in the process of being expedited back to Arkansas at this time to face charges. Phillips is still being sought at this time and currently has an active warrant. This is an on-going investigation and additional charges could be forthcoming.
Anybody with information related to this case is encouraged to contact the Benton Police Department at 501-778-1171 or 501-315-TIPS. Individuals also may send an anonymous crime tip about this incident to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text or go to www.crimereports.com to leave a tip.