FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – A Franklin County mom and her three kids have been missing since about Sept. 5, according to authorities. However, on Friday, she spoke with 10 News for the first time.
Mother Lauren Tousa Cook said she and her three kids are fine, through a video call on an app that can’t be tracked.
She shared a photo with 10 News of the kids taken on Friday and showed the kids over video call but asked that the video not be aired for their privacy.
Cook declined to share their location.
Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies have been on an almost month-long search for the family that hasn’t ended yet. Deputies said they have to physically see the family before they can stop searching.
Cook said she hasn’t come forward yet because she’s distrustful.
“I’ve been trying to retain a lawyer ever since the beginning of this,” Lauren Tousa Cook said. “That takes money that I haven’t necessarily been able to all get together to be able to fight this thing more head-on.”
Cook said this all started when she learned of child abuse allegations against her husband.
Deputies tell us there was an emergency removal order from the Department of Social Services at one point. They said now there is none, and they don’t have any criminal papers to serve to Lauren if she comes forward.
We reached out to DSS and have not heard back yet.
Cook’s husband, Jordan, tells us he’s been in court several times, he denies the allegations and said the case has since been dropped.
“The case was dismissed without prejudice which means it could be re-opened,” Jordan Cook said. “So until we have full closure on the issue, she’s playing it really safe.”
Husband Jordan Cook said he’s been in contact with his wife and authorities throughout the missing persons case, but it’s his wife’s decision when she wants to come forward.
Jordan Cook said she’s five months pregnant.
“Kind of scary to have all kinds of allegations of all kinds of abuse be levied at myself or my husband because none of it was ever substantiated,” Lauren Tousa Cook said.