, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 18, 2014

Missing teen found, father held in Mich.

Teen to be returned to Muskogee

Oklahoma officials will be returning a missing teenager to Muskogee who was located in Michigan, said Rae Lea Spears, an investigator with the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office.

Austin Powell, 16, was found Tuesday afternoon in Bad Axe, Mich. His father, James Powell, is in police custody in Bad Axe in the Huron County Jail. His bond is set at $250,000.

Representatives of Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services are working with social services in Michigan in accessing Austin Powell’s condition, Spears said. DHS employees are planning to fly to Michigan today to pick up the boy and return him to Muskogee, she said.

Powell, who had been missing from Muskogee since Saturday, was playing video games when he was found, Spears said. Michigan authorities said, “he looks good.” He appears to be a little nervous, possibly from all the recent activity, but is in good shape, Spears said.

Merinda Corbett said Powell had been living in her home since Jan. 14. She is his cousin and his foster parent. Powell was reportedly taken from Corbett’s home Saturday by his father, whose custodial rights were restricted to supervised visitations.

Law enforcers said they were concerned about Powell’s health because he did not have the medication he needed. Corbett said the boy has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and has the mind of a 4- or 5-year old.

Authorities are in the process of extraditing James Powell, 47, to Muskogee. That process could take up to 30 days, Spears said.

Information from family, Internet searches and cooperation of law enforcement in several cities helped local investigators find Powell.

“The family gave us information on a friend of the father,” Spears said.

She and investigator Coletta Peyton checked the Internet for addresses and phone numbers.

Their search led them first to an address in Bloomfield Hill, Mich. They contacted officers in that city and learned that the people they were searching for had moved to Cairo, Mich. Officers in that city were able to find out that the individuals had moved to Bad Axe, Mich.

Working on a tip received through the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Department, officers with the Bad Axe Police Department went to an apartment in that city. “After several hours of surveillance, Officer (Shawn R.) Webber observed the renter leaving the apartment,” a media release states.

The officer made contact with the renter and learned that Austin and James Powell were in the apartment. Bad Axe Police Department officers “made entry into the apartment and took the fugitive into custody without incident,” the release states.

Authorities believe that Austin and James Powell left the Muskogee area in a blue pickup. Austin Powell told authorities Tuesday that the pickup broke down at some point during the trip, and the pair arrived in Bad Axe by bus, Spears said.

Reach Anita Reding at (918) 684-2903 or

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