OGDEN — Police are investigating the kidnapping of two small children later found unharmed in a stolen van recovered Monday in Ogden.
As of Monday night, no arrests had been made in connection with the incident, which remained under investigation by the Ogden Police Department Major Crimes Division, said OPD Lt. Troy Burnett.
The suspects are described as a Hispanic male, last seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and blue baseball cap, and a Hispanic female, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.
The vehicle theft and kidnapping happened around 3 p.m.
Maria Castillo and a friend, Angelica Martinez, both of Clearfield, had parked the green Dodge Caravan in front of the home of Castillo’s daughter, Lupa Bravo, at 317 32nd St.
Castillo went into the home to use the restroom, Bravo said, and Martinez went inside to deliver some milk.
Martinez left her keys in her van along with 2-year-old daughter, Carla Pacheco, and Castillo’s 4-month-old son, Romeo, who were asleep in the back of the vehicle, said Bravo.
They heard the van start up, ran outside and found the vehicle gone.
“When my mom saw the van gone, she came in screaming and went crazy,” Bravo said. “She said, ‘Call the police’ and went outside to find someone to help her stop the van.”
A school bus driver, Mark Slater, and his aide, Penny Wagoner, who had no children aboard their bus at the time, heard about the incident on a police scanner, drove around the area, found the van abandoned a half-block away in the 3200 block of Kiesel Avenue and contacted police, Burnett said.
The children were apparently unaware of the potential danger they faced and were still asleep in the van when police approached the vehicle, he said.
Castillo was relieved the children were discovered unharmed, Bravo said. “When she found the van, she was really happy and thanking God,” she said.
Police reunited Castillo with her son and Martinez with her daughter Monday afternoon at the spot where the van was recovered.
It was an emotional reunion.
The case is being investigated as a kidnapping because the children were taken against their will, Burnett said. It’s believed the van thieves may have abandoned the vehicle once they discovered the children inside, he said.
“The elements of what happened fits the element of a child kidnapping,” Burnett said.
“If they found the kids in the van and stopped what they were doing, that was the first good thing they did. Until we talk to them, we are not going to know if they were taking the vehicle for a joy ride.
“If I was them, I would call the police department as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Weber Consolidated Dispatch Center at 629-8221.