MANATEE -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office issued an alert Friday to all law enforcement agencies in the United States to be on the lookout for two missing children who might be endangered.
Child Protection Services workers reportedly went Thursday to check on 2-year-old Devon Whitley and 1-year-old Paisley Whitley at a residence in the 500 block of 77th Street East, Palmetto, but were told by the father, David Wayne Whitley, they were with the mother out of state.
Repeated attempts to verify the information have been unsuccessful, the sheriff's office said.
"We have BOLOs so everybody's aware," said Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow. "Detectives are still following up on leads and making phone calls."
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The mother is Amanda Gates, according to the release.
Bristow was unable to provide more details Friday night on the nature of the CPS visit, but said the father told deputies their mother took the children to Illinois.
"We talked to the dad yesterday but we haven't been able to get ahold of either parent today to verify that the children are OK," Bristow told the Herald. "We tried to get back with him today and we've been unsuccessful so we decided to go ahead and put out a missing child alert."
At 1:06 a.m. Sept. 14, Whitley was arrested on a domestic battery charge in the 2900 block of Moccasin Wallow Road for reportedly punching Gates between the eyes several times, according to the sheriff's office. An arrest report states Whitley and Gates have been in a committed relationship and living together for more than four years.
Deputies reported the couple's argument stemmed from Gates wanting to move back to Illinois with the children. According to Gates, Whitley then punched her between the eyes several times.
Deputies reported observing swollen lumps on Gates' face: one above her right eye and one between her eyes.
According to the report, Gates grabbed her cell phone after the attack, ran out into the roadway and called 911.
Whitley was released the same day from Manatee County jail on $500 bond, according to the sheriff's office website.
Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to call the sheriff's office at 941-747-3011.
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.