Officers Reunite With Amber Alert Child--1 Year Later!

Apr 06, 2023 at 09:05 pm by WGNS


(MURFREESBORO)  Four-year-old Riley Bockes dashed to the outstretched arms of her best friend, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Deputy Denise Smotherman.  The deputy lifted Riley up and hugged her when they reunited for the first time since January 2022 when the deputy helped recover her in an Amber Alert.
Riley, then 3, was abducted by her father, Brent, after he allegedly killer her mother, Deanna Bockes, Jan. 5, 2022 and fled their North Carolina home. Bockes crashed later that night on Interstate 24 near South Church Street in Murfreesboro.
Deputies recognized the car from the Amber Alert issued for Riley. Deputies and Murfreesboro Police searched nearby motels until they rescued Riley. Her father now awaits trial for first-degree murder of her mother.
Smotherman cared for Riley that night. Riley referred to the deputy as her “best friend” when Riley’s adult sister, Erikka Emmons, picked her up and thanked Murfreesboro Police and sheriff’s deputies.
Riley is thriving in a new home with Emmons, her husband, Jonathan, and their children, Jadon, Levi and Savannah in North Carolina.
The family returned Friday night to reunite during a dinner with Murfreesboro Police and the Sheriff’s deputies who rescued her. Riley asked for Denise before the deputy arrived.
Smotherman thought Riley might forget her.
“For her to actually remember who we are, it’s awesome,” Smotherman said. “I’m glad to see she’s doing well. She’s in an awesome home.”
Smotherman gave Riley a bear with one of her older uniform shirts. Riley hugged the bear.
“You have a little bit of me when you go anywhere,” Smotherman told Riley.
Murfreesboro Police Officer Corey Ridiner was one officer who helped locate the girl. Riley ran to him.
“You’re the one who gave me pizza,” Riley remembered, drawing a smile from Ridiner. He gave her a bear engraved with the MPD Patch and a bag of gifts she opened beside him.
Ridiner said officers rarely are reunited with victims.
“It’s good to see Riley so happy,” Ridiner said.
Murfreesboro K9 Officer Cody Shanabarger and his K9 partner, Beau, tracked Riley and Bockes to a motel room for her rescue and his arrest. Riley gingerly pet Beau.
Sgt. James Holloway built a shadow box with patches and challenge coins from the sheriff’s office and Murfreesboro Police. Christy Black created a large stuffed cat.
Holloway said it was rewarding to see how the work the officers did last year paid off in watching Riley interact with them again.
Detective Austin Mobbs said it was good to see how Riley remembered the officers and the difference they made with her.
“The officers and family came together to see how well Riley’s doing,” Mobbs said. “She’s doing phenomenal.”
Jonathan Emmons was grateful for the care Mobbs and Holloway and the officers and deputies showed in helping their family recover Riley last year and welcoming the family again.
“You all have been an absolute blessing,” Emmons said.
The Sheriff’s Office thanks Highland Heights Church of Christ for coordinating the dinner and welcoming the family and officers.
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