A mother and her three children are considered missing persons, according to Virginia authorities, but the woman’s husband said they aren’t missing and that he has “no reason” to be concerned for their safety.
In an updated news release on Tuesday, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said that Lauren Elizabeth Tousa Cook, 30, and her three children – Benjamin Cook, 7, Hannah Cook 5, and Elijah Cook, 2 – were last seen on Sept. 5 in Franklin County.
A missing persons investigation was launched eight days later after Lauren failed to appear for a scheduled court appearance in Franklin County Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court on Sept. 13. The court appearance was re-scheduled after a previous court date on Sept. 5 that Lauren was not present for.
There was no mention of why Lauren was scheduled to appear in court, with the sheriff’s office noting that “juvenile records are confidential.”
The sheriff’s office said that they reached out Lauren’s family members, who said they lost contact with Lauren and the kids a couple of days earlier. “There has been no reported contact with Lauren since September 5th or 6th, when she stated that she was in New York visiting family,” police said.
On Sept. 14, investigators said that they confirmed that Lauren and the kids were in Litchfield, Illinois, noting that the family has connections in other states, per the sheriff’s office.
Jordan Cook, Lauren’s husband and the father of their children, told ABC affiliate WSET-TV that “contrary to what has been reported, my wife and children are not ‘missing.'”
“I have no reason to be concerned about their safety or well-being,” he told the outlet. “I have heard from my wife, and I’m sure she and my children are doing well. We ask that our family’s privacy be respected at this time.”