Abduction reported in Houlka, custody issues at play

By Chickasaw Journal

HOULKA – A man is in jail as authorities and the courts try to sort out a custody battle after a girl was taken from Houlka Attendance Center Friday morning.
Chickasaw County Sheriff’s chief investigator James Myers said Michael Sykes, 35, was arrested on U.S. Highway 78 just south of Memphis about noon after he picked up his 5-year-old daughter without checking her out of the school.
“There is some question of exactly who has custody and we are working that out with the judge, but are holding Mr. Sykes for the weekend,” said Myers. “He said he checked her out of school but school officials are saying he didn’t and that could result in an abduction charge.
The mother, Stephanie Nicole Williams, 27, of Houston, picked up her daughter in Olive Branch Friday afternoon.
Sykes has both a Woodland and Missouri address and Myers said as soon as the little girl was reported missing authorities began watching highways leading to Missouri for a 2000 Buick LaSabre.
“Once the statewide alert went out, we had him picked up in just a matter of minutes,” said Myers. “A lot of departments swung into action and did just the right things.