3 kids back with family after being kidnapped in stolen car, police say

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KLKN) — The Grand Island Police Department says two teens are in custody after they kidnapped three small children while stealing an SUV early Sunday morning. The three children are 5, 1 and 7 months old.

Police say the incident began around 3 a.m. on Sunday when a man reported his his 2012 Chevy Traverse was stolen with the kids inside. A short time later, police attempted to stop the vehicle but were unsuccessful.

Authorities say the vehicle was later located in rural Buffalo County and two suspects, a 17-year-old Hastings boy and 18-year-old Tate Wolfe of Kearney were taken into custody by the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department and Nebraska State Patrol. The missing children were not located in the stolen vehicle at the time of the arrest.

Just before 5 a.m. on Sunday, Grand Island officers discovered a different vehicle stolen out of Kearney and located the 5 and 1-year-old victims inside, believed to have been placed there by the suspects.

About 30 minutes later, officials say a rural Hall County resident located the kidnapped infant on the porch of a farm house.

All three children received for medical attention for suspected hypothermia and frostbite. They have since been released from the hospital and are back with their family.

Early Monday morning, the Grand Island Police Department said it determined the parents were not at fault in this incident after reviewing video in the area. Officials say the parents were having a conversation with neighbors while the kids were inside the warm car when the suspects stole the vehicle.

“The safety of our community, and the most vulnerable of them, our children, was the foremost consideration throughout this case, and we are thankful the outcome was not worse given the circumstances caused by the suspects,” the department said in a statement early Monday.

Both suspects are in custody and housed in the Hall County jail on suspicion of 3 counts of kidnapping, 3 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.


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