Kidnapped Surprise child found safe, father in custodyPosted: Updated:
SURPRISE -- The Surprise 2-year-old who was the subject of an Amber Alert has been reunited with his family and the man who took him, his biological father, is in police custody.
Surprise police issue Amber Alert for 2-year-old boy - Surprise police have issued an Amber Alert for a 2-year-old boy believed to have been taken at knifepoint by his biological father.
Xavier Garcia was missing for some seven hours. Police were concerned for the little boy's safety because of the way everyting happened.
It all started with a break-in late Tuesday night that escalated into a domestic-violence situation.
According to police, the little boy's mother told them she awoke at about 11 p.m. to find Michael Garcia standing over her with a knife. The mother, Garcia's ex-girlfriend, fought back, but he took the child by force. Police issued an Amber Alert at about 4:30 Wednesday morning.
Garcia, 20, had no custody or visitation rights. Police said that while Garcia has a history of domestic violence -- the boy's mother has a restraining order against him -- he has never hurt Xavier.
Police canceled the Amber Alert shortly before 7 a.m. after finding Garcia and Xavier at a home in the area of 41st and Southern avenues in South Phoenix. The home apparently belongs to some acquaintances of Garcia.
"If the mom actually let him see the kid every once in while, like every day like he wants to ... he wants to be in the kid's life. ... She never allowed him to actually see his kids," said Dominick San Miguel, who lives in the home where Garcia was arrested. "The only reason why he did this probably is because she doesn't allow him to see his kids."
The little boy was not hurt. Officers and U.S. Marshals were able to take Garcia into custody after a short standoff in which Garcia barricaded himself in a bedroom. He later gave himself up without further incident.
"I think our worst fear was [Garcia] leaving him [Xavier] somewhere because he was scared to turn himself in," said Xavier's grandmother after the family was reunited. "I think [Garcia] was trying to use [Xavier] as a pawn," she said when asked about a possible motive for the kidnapping. She said she believes Garcia was using Xavier to get to the boy's mother.
"This has been an ongoing situation," said Sgt. Mark Ortega of the Surprise Police Department.
Ortega said the Amber Alert system is likely one reason the situation ended the way it did.
"I can't express how much we in law enforcement love the Amber Alert," he said. "They have a great success rate because it brings in the community and the media, everybody working together for one purpose."
It's not yet clear exactly what charges Garcia could face.