3 kids rescued after father’s car stolen, police say
HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB/Gray News) - Police in Nebraska rescued three children under the age of 6 after they were reportedly kidnapped during a car theft.
The Grand Island Police Department says a father reported his 2012 Chevy Traverse stolen at 3 a.m. Sunday. He said his children, ages 5, 1 and 7 months, were in the SUV at the time of the theft.
A short time later, officers attempted to stop the SUV but were unsuccessful and stopped the pursuit, KSNB reports.
The investigation led officers to believe the SUV was in Buffalo County, where it was later located. The two suspects, 18-year-old Tate Wolfe and a 17-year-old, were taken into custody by the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department and Nebraska State Patrol, according to the Grand Island Police Department.
The missing children were not found in the SUV.
While searching the area, officers discovered a different vehicle, which they say had been stolen out of Kearney, and found the 5-year-old and 1-year-old children inside. They are believed to have been placed there by the suspects.
The infant was still missing, so a county-wide alert was issued in an attempt to locate the 7-month-old. A rural Hall County resident found the baby abandoned on the porch of a farmhouse about 5:25 a.m.
All three children were transported for medical attention for suspected hypothermia and frostbite. GIPD said they were treated, released and reunited with their family.
The police department says the two suspects are being held on suspicion of three counts of kidnapping, three counts of intentional child abuse resulting in injury, possession of stolen property and flight to avoid arrest. There may be additional charges in cooperating jurisdictions.
GIPD officers investigated the circumstances in which the children were in the car and found no negligent behavior on behalf of the parents, who are victims in this case.
Officers said the parents loaded the children in the running SUV because of the cold, and they were speaking briefly with the neighbors when the suspects stole the vehicle. Police said these circumstances were backed up by video evidence.
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