Eric Maes

Eric Maes is accused of kidnapping his 10-month-old son and killing the baby's mother.

PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Police say they've caught the man who allegedly kidnapped his baby boy from his mother in Peoria.

Officers spotted Eric Maes in Phoenix near 23rd Avenue and Cactus Road around 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday. Authorities had been searching for him since Tuesday evening. Officers say they tried to talk to Maes but he ran off. City of Phoenix park rangers and Peoria police helped Phoenix police with the search of that area. Maes was found and taken into custody in a wash/canal near 23rd Avenue and Thunderbird Road. He was then taken to the Peoria Police Department headquarters. He'll be booked in 4th Avenue Jail on one count of manslaughter, police said.

The child was eventually found safe, but his mom died trying to prevent the kidnapping.

According to police, 30-year-old Brittany Walker-Martie of Phoenix was loading her 10-month-old son Abel Maes into a vehicle near 91st Avenue and Deer Valley Road around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The baby's father, Maes of Sun City, showed up and stole the car with the boy still inside, police said.

Previous mug shots of Eric Maes

Two previous mug shots of Eric Maes, the man police are looking for who is accused of kidnapping his child from Peoria Tuesday night.

Callers flooded 911, reporting that a woman was on top of a car that was being driven down the road, according to Sgt. Amanda Gaines of the Peoria Police Department. Officers located Walker-Martie, who had life-threatening injuries from being thrown off the car. 

"There were cop cars blocking the road here, tape straight across here," said Christine Andert, who lives near where Walker-Martie was thrown. "To get out of the car and see all of the cars and people but it was eerily quiet. I get chills and goosebumps--it was quiet, that's the only way I can describe it."

Investigators were able to speak with Walker-Martie briefly before she was taken into surgery, Gaines said. Walker-Martie died during surgery. 

"I was told he was weaving in and out of traffic, and she just held on until she couldn't anymore," says Juliann Davis, Walker's cousin. Davis says, for the past year, Walker had been trying to break away from the abusive relationship.

"This was a sick human being who was troubled, in and out of rehab, abused drugs," says Davis.

Maes ditched the vehicle and was last seen running with the baby in the area of 25th Avenue and Cactus Road in Phoenix. An Amber Alert was activated just before midnight in hopes the public could help locate Maes and Abel.  

Around 1 a.m., the Phoenix Fire Department responded to a report of an abandoned child. Police confirmed that child to be Abel. He was not hurt, and the Amber Alert was canceled just before 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Police said on Wednesday afternoon that they found Maes but didn't say where or how they tracked him down.

At this point, investigators do not have a clear picture of what happened before Maes allegedly stole the car with Abel inside.

Jessica Yungkans says her cousin's focus was on her two children. Walker got sober, a good job, and was preparing to move into her own home. Yungkans says family will make sure Abel knows how much his mother loved him.

"So many pictures, so many home videos," says Yungkans. "He's going to see them all. He's going to be showered with so much love."

Brittany Walker-Martie

Brittany Walker-Martie and her two children.

"We have one side of a story, but a very short part of a story," Gaines said Wednesday morning. "We don't really know why everyone was in this area. And we don't know why specifically Eric was in this area, so we'd really like to talk to him."

 

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