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Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies Help Locate Four Children Taken By Noncustodial Mother

-Press Release- Beaverhead County Sheriff's Office

On 02/13/23 around 7am, the Beaverhead County Dispatch Center was advised of a BOLO, Be On the Look Out, for a female that had taken four children that she did not have custody of, and fled the state of Utah. The female was armed with firearms and had threatened harm if confronted. Cedar City Utah police were tracking her cell phone and its last known location were south of the Clark Canyon Dam. Deputies rushed to locate the female along with the assistance of Montana Highway Patrol but were unable to locate her due to the information being hours delayed.

Around 4pm our dispatch received another tip from a missing children specialist with the State of Montana. They were able to provide new information including; an updated location, vehicle information, and a license plate. They provided information on a U-Haul that was rented by one of the suspects. Quickly using personnel from the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, Dillon Police Department, and Montana Highway Patrol, a team was assembled and they began to look for the vehicle. Officers located a twenty-six-foot U-Haul traveling North on I-15 and devised a plan to stop it safely. The U-Haul was stopped just South of Dillon and one male suspect was taken into custody without incident, and one of the four missing children was safely recovered.

After further interviews and investigation, it was discovered that the non-custodial mother and three remaining children were at a hotel in Missoula. We were also made aware that she had another 16-year-old male helping her flee with the children.

Deputies worked in providing real-time updated information to Missoula Police which led to the location of the female suspect and children. After a nearly four-hour event, Missoula Police were able to safely make entry into the hotel room and arrest the female suspect and safely recover the remaining missing children.

In what quickly turned into a multi-agency, and multi-state incident, the suspects were apprehended and all the children were safely returned to their parents. The suspects are pending felony charges of Custodial Interference, Kidnapping, and others. They are awaiting transport back to Utah.

Without the quick response from multiple agencies, this may not have ended so successfully. The Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office extends our immense gratitude to our amazing dispatchers, our deputies, the Dillon Police Department, Montana Highway Patrol, the Missoula Police Department and their helpful dispatch center, and the dispatchers and officers of Cedar City Utah. The teamwork and dedication of everyone involved made a serious and dangerous situation turn out with a positive outcome.

David Wendt

Sheriff, Beaverhead County

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