ARAB, Ala. - The FBI has joined the search for four missing brothers who were last seen at their grandmother's home in Arab, Alabama on Friday, police said.
Felony warrants have been issued for the parents, 39-year-old Marcus Eugene Simmons and 29-year-old Karissa Renee Cummings.
A state missing child alert is in effect as authorities look for 1-year-old Corbin Simmons, 4-year-old Alexander Simmons, 5-year-old Nicholas Simmons and 11-year-old Ian Simmons.
Authorities said they may be traveling in a 2003 white Ford Windstar with a license plate of 8AJ1511.
Investigators say the couple have not had any contact with anyone – family or law enforcement – and may be heading to North Carolina or Georgia to be with other family members, according to WHNT.
Blount County DHR removed the children from the couple's care on December 7 and placed them with their grandmother, who lives on Cobb Road, as a temporary measure.
"DHR (Department of Human Resources) advised us that there were some allegations of abuse that happened in the home, and that was why they removed them from the home," Arab Police Assistant Chief Shane Washburn said.
Simmons is the father of all four children and Cummings is the mother of three of the boys. The mother of the fourth boy filed a missing child report.
Officers believe the couple took the kids from their grandmother's home in Arab on Friday between midnight and seven a.m. "The family member was asleep at the time the children were taken. They found out around 7 a.m. the next morning," Washburn said.
"Mr. Simmons previously lived at the residence on Cobb Road. There's no forced entry to the home, and also Mr. Simmons has had no contact with any other of his family members," Washburn said. "They had tried to contact him and he has eliminated all forms of communication."
There was another child at the home but the couple didn't take that child with the four boys. "Being that DHR removed them from the home I do believe there is some form of danger; to what extent I can't say," Washburn said.
Police have issued descriptions of the children and are asking the public for help finding them.
Washburn said in a case like this one every little bit of information helps. "By all means, any help that we can get from the public is greatly needed. It is welcomed. Because once again, we need their help in solving this case and finding these children."
"I would rather search down several tips and they not turn out to be anything than to have someone not give me the one tip that matters," Washburn continued.
He added that in prior cases like this one, tips were vital for the small department in tracking down leads. "In this case, it looks like they have possibly left the state and so our resources are very limited to where we can't reach out that far, so we depend on the public's help and other law enforcement agencies to help us."
Anyone that has any information regarding their whereabouts is asked to contact the Arab Police Department at 256-586-8124, or your local law enforcement agency.