Cell phones all over the county blared out the now familiar alarm Friday morning at 7:26: Amber Alert. A child, in this case a three-year-old girl, was in danger, traveling somewhere in the Riverhead area in a 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe driven by her mother, Patchita Tennant, 42.
More chilling details emerged: Tennant had allegedly just shot the girl’s father, Andrew Silas Mitchell, of Flanders, “multiple times” the previous evening. Mitchell, though, was coherent and gave police the information they needed, and a massive search was mounted to locate car and driver. Eventually the child and the vehicle were located.
A day earlier, on Thursday, September 5 at approximately 8:20 PM, Southampton Town Police Communications received a call from a victim of a shooting. Patrol units were immediately dispatched to the residence. Upon arrival police found Mitchell, 46, shot multiple times. Mitchell was conscious and alert and able to tell officers the mother of his child had shot him during a domestic dispute. Tennant fled the area with their daughter and had not been located as of the next morning.
But there was a happy ending to this story. Lieutenant Susan Ralph of the Southampton Town Police Department reported at noontime Friday that the child, identified as Vanessa Tennant-Mitchell, was safe and sound — her mother dropped her off at a relative’s house during the night. The vehicle was located in Suffolk County, and just before 1 PM Ralph said the accused turned herself in.
“This just proves that Amber Alerts are very beneficial, and through the use of social media, the police department, as well as putting it out through the media, this has been a successful conclusion and we did find the child safe,” Lt. Ralph said.
Mitchell, seriously injured, was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital.