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Bank robbery in custody facing multiple charges

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By Stephen Thomas

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - A suspect in custody following an Amber Alert and car chase is also the lead suspect in a local bank robbery.

Joshua Yeager, 24, was arrested by Kentucky State Police early Wednesday morning following a lengthy police pursuit.

Police were searching for Yeager in conjunction with an Amber Alert released Tuesday evening for 2-year-old Jaylynn Maxey. Yeager was reported as Jaylynn's "non-custodial father."

The Shepherdsville Police Department received numerous tips during the Amber Alert that Yeager was also the suspected robber of the Stock Yards Bank on Adam Shepherd Parkway Monday afternoon.

SPD public information officer Sgt. Michael O'Donnell said many of the calls associated Yeager with the bank surveillance photos released by police.

Louisville Metro Police Department Sgt. Donny Burbrink said the situation began Friday, Oct. 5, at the Wal-Mart on Bardstown Rd. near the Snyder Freeway.

According to Burbrink, Jaylynn and her mother, Melissa Maxey, were at the store with Yeager and Melissa's eight-month-old daughter when Yeager allegedly assaulted Melissa.

"When she went to call for assistance, he fled with the two-year-old," Burbrink said.

Investigators determined at the time that Jaylynn was not in danger, although they learned Yeager was possibly not the biological father.

"It was an assumed fatherhood," Burbrink said. "They always acted on the assumption but he was never proven to be the father, There was never a custody order. Basically he would just see the kids. The mother was hesitant to leave them alone with him."

Burbrink said an Amber Alert wasn't initially released because Jaylynn and Yeager did have an established relationship.

"For an Amber Alert there needs to be certain criteria," he said. "They're more difficult to obtain, because you don't want to cry wolf. On that day the mom did not believe her child was in danger. We appreciate the family's honesty at that time."

Burbrink said LMPD requested an Amber Alert from KSP on Tuesday after learning that Yeager was armed and possibly suicidal.

According to Burbrink, the Maxey family posted Tuesday on Facebook that Jaylynn was still missing. They also suggested that Yeager was the Stock Yards robber.

SPD units were dispatched to Stock Yards Bank around 12:30 Monday afternoon in reference to a hold-up alarm.

O'Donnell said a bank robbery took place at that time, in which the suspect brandished a weapon and demanded money from a teller.

"He showed them a firearm," O'Donnell confirmed.

The robber entered the bank with a pink Dora the Explorer bag with the handgun inside of it. He left the bank with an undetermined amount of currency.

He was last witnessed on foot headed in the direction of the McDonald's Restaurant on the corner of Adam Shepherd and Highway 44 West.

SPD released bank surveillance photos to the media Monday afternoon. O'Donnell said the department received numerous tips afterward, all prior to the Amber Alert release on Tuesday evening.

When LMPD received information about Yeager being armed and suicidal, a request was immediately made to KSP for an Amber Alert, which was released around 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

The alert included information on both Jaylynn and Yeager, reported to be in a 2004 Ford Taurus with New Jersey plates.

"We received numerous tips from the public," Burbrink said. "The original vehicle was found in Louisville at the intersection of Lee and Arthur Streets."

Burbrink added that the Taurus was reported stolen by its owner within the same day it was located.

From there, police received further information that Yeager purchased a car "from a car lot in Indiana," a green Dodge Intrepid, according to Burbrink.

KSP Trooper Pete Binkley said police then received a tip that Yeager's new vehicle was located on southbound Interstate 65 around the Lebanon Junction area.

"Troopers located him and attempted to stop the vehicle, but he wouldn't pull over," Binkley said.

Elizabethtown Police units placed tire deflation devices along the interstate to slow Yeager, but he continued southbound.

"He entered Hart County, which is in the KSP Bowling Green Post 3 area," Binkley said. Yeager then took Exit 71 at Bonnieville, eventually heading northbound on Highway 31W toward Elizabethtown.

Police were finally able to pull Yeager over in Upton, near the Hardin/LaRue County line. He was taken into custody shortly after midnight.

Binkley said Jaylynn was transported to Hardin Memorial Hospital for examination. She was determined to be okay and was returned to her mother.

Burbrink noted that the Maxey family was listed as residents of Hart County.

Yeager was eventually transported the the Hardin Count Detention Center, facing multiple charges by KSP.

Hardin County jailer Danny Allen said Yeager was charged by KSP with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment involving a police officer.

Yeager was also charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, fleeing/evading police, third-degree criminal mischief, leaving the scene of an accident while failing to offer assistance, driving with a suspended or revoked license, along with an excessive warrant in violation of an Emerceny Protective Order/Domestic Violence Order.

Burbrink said Yeager will face further charges from LMPD. He said the department was still in communications with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office on determining future charges.

According to O'Donnell, Yeager was "the only person of interest" in the bank robbery investigation. He said Yeager would face future charges to be determined by SPD.

O'Donnell said LMPD informed SPD about Yeager prior to the Amber Alert release. He also credited the public for responding in a manner that brought about a quick and safe conclusion.

"It's amazing what can happen when everyone works together," he said.