HOUSTON — Landry Thompson loves to dance, and the 13-year-old’s dance instructors get a kick out of it too.
“It definitely is life to me,” said Emmanuel Hurd. “It means the world. It’s everything to me.”
That’s why the trio from Oklahoma traveled to Houston in the first place. To spend the weekend dancing and training with some of the industry’s best.
But that dream of a visit took an ugly turn shortly after leaving the studio Saturday night, when the group, exhausted from their work, stopped off at nearby gas station.
“We were on the GPS trying to figure out where the hotel was. And we sat there and we dozed off.”
They said before they knew it, the police showed up and surrounded the car.
“And so I was kind of freaked out and surprised by it,” said Landry.
“They just pulled us out of the car and put our hands behind our backs like we were criminals,” added Hurd.
“The officer asked me 'who’s the girl?' and I said 'she’s my student,'” said Hurd.
“I told him I had a notarized letter from her parents stating that we have full guardianship over her while we’re here.”
All three dancers said say they pleaded with the police repeatedly telling them their story, but that in the end, none of that seemed to matter.”
“They still put handcuffs on me and it really scared me,” said Landry. “And they put me in the back of a cop car and I was terrified.”
Landry was taken to Child Protective Services. Her mom couldn’t believe it when she found out.
“I was horrified,” said Destiny Thompson. “She was with the people I wanted her to be with. She was with people I trusted. And now she was taken away from those people and in a shelter with people I didn’t know.”
Thompson claimed she was told she’d have to fly to Houston to get her daughter out. But 11 hours later, following repeated phone calls to officials, Landry was released back into the custody of her instructors.
“I would love an apology,” said Destiny.
Police officials still aren’t commenting about what happened.
The group of dancers plans to return to Oklahoma Monday afternoon.