Amherst Man Indicted for Kidnapping Child from Supervised Visit and Assault Child Protective Services Worker

Modified: August 4, 2022 2:00pm

8/4/2022

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 22-year-old Shaland S. Souverain, also known as Souverain Shaland, of Amherst was arraigned last week before State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Haendiges on an indictment charging him with the following offenses:

  • One count of Kidnapping in the Second Degree (Class “B” felony)
  • Two counts of Assault in the Second Degree (Class “D” felonies)
  • One count of Custodial Interference in the First Degree (Class “E” felony)
  • One count of Criminal Contempt in the Third Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor)
  • One count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Class “A” misdemeanor)

It is alleged that on Thursday, March 10, 2022, at approximately 11:01 a.m., the defendant, who was scheduled for a supervised visit, abducted his own 4-year-old child from the Erie County Department of Social Services office on Union Road in the Town of Cheektowaga. The defendant allegedly committed the crime while knowingly in violation of an existing order of protection.

A Child Protective Services (CPS) employee allegedly chased after the defendant as he exited the building with the child. When the CPS worker attempted to stop the defendant from leaving, the defendant allegedly pushed the CPS employee to the ground as he entered his own vehicle with the child. It is further alleged that the CPS worker got up and attempted to stop the defendant from leaving by standing behind the defendant’s vehicle. It is further alleged that the defendant assaulted the CPS employee by hitting the victim with his vehicle as he fled the scene. The employee was taken by ambulance to ECMC to be treated for injuries to his arm and side of his body.

The defendant was located by police at his apartment on the 200 block of Travers Circle in the Town of Amherst. He was taken into custody without incident after a nearly 5-hour standoff with law enforcement. The child was found uninjured and returned to the custody of Erie County Child Protective Services.

Souverain is scheduled to return on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. for a pre-trial conference. He continues to remain held without bail.

If convicted of all charges, Souverain faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

The defendant’s mother, 46-year-old Dian Schul of Amherst, was also indicted for her role in the alleged crime. Schul was also arraigned before Justice Haendiges on July 27, 2022 on the following offenses:

  • One count of Kidnapping in the Second Degree (Class “B” felony)
  • One count of Custodial Interference in the First Degree (Class “E” felony)
  • One count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Class “A” misdemeanor)

The defendant was allegedly inside of the apartment on Travers Circle when her son arrived with the abducted child. It is alleged that the defendant had knowledge of an existing Court order that prevented her son from having custody of the child and aided in the kidnapping by refusing numerous orders by police. The defendant allegedly told police officers to leave and refused to comply with police orders during the nearly 5-hour standoff outside of the home.

Schul is scheduled to return on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. for a pre-trial conference. Bail was set at $50,000 cash, bond or partially secured bond.

DA Flynn commends the Cheektowaga Police Department, Amherst Police Department and Erie County Child Protective Services for their work in this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Andres Ortiz and Assistant Chief Cathleen M. Roemer of the Special Victims/Domestic Violence Bureau.  

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.