Woman pleads not guilty to breaking into Minneapolis home, forcefully taking 5-year-old

A woman authorities say attempted to forcefully take a 5-year-old girl from her custodial father in Minneapolis in October 2019 has pleaded not guilty.

Court records show Serenity Joy Jones pleaded not guilty Thursday to one count of first-degree burglary and one count of taking a minor and depriving custodial parents of rights.

Michael Brann has also been charged with first-degree burglary in connection to the incident.

Minneapolis police responded to a 911 call in Minneapolis on the evening of Oct. 23 after a caller had reported he was home with his daughter when her mother pounded on the door with an unknown man.

A criminal complaint states Jones and Brann forced the front door of the home open, came inside, picked up the girl and left as Brann stood inside the door.

Charges: Non-custodial mother, accomplice broke into Minneapolis home, forcefully took 5-year-old girl

A judge awarded the girl's father sole legal and physical custody of the girl on March 29, the complaint states. It also states that Jones began having parenting time with the girl on weekends in September, including the weekend prior to the incident.

But on Oct. 20, Jones refused to return the girl to her father's care and didn't take her to school the next day.

According to the complaint, the girl's father received an ex parte order from the court requiring Jones to return the girl to her father and directing law enforcement to assist, if necessary. Coon Rapids police assisted in retrieving the girl from Jones on Oct. 21.

Minneapolis police asked for the public's help locating the girl and Jones on Oct. 24, stating there was a concern for the girl's welfare.

The complaint states police searched for Jones at addresses associated with her and identified Brann as the likely person who helped her take the girl, which surveillance video from outside the father's residence later confirmed. Law enforcement then obtained a court order to access location data for Brann's phone and tracked it to a residence on Pillsbury Avenue S. in Minneapolis, where police located the girl with Jones and Brann.

Jones and Brann were then arrested.

A trial is set to begin May 18.