Michigan Amber Alert: Sturgis police are looking for 3 children abducted by father who is considered 'armed and dangerous'
Police say 5-year-old Chelsey Lopez, 4-year-old Matteo Nieves, and 2-year-old Aldo Cruz were abducted shortly after midnight
An Amber Alert has been issued for three children who are believed to have been abducted by their father on Thursday.
According to a domestic complaint received by the Sturgis Police Department, the father-of-three allegedly assaulted the mother at their home on Pioneer Street in Sturgis. The mother reportedly fled the home after the incident and immediately called 911 from a gas station nearby. Michigan State Police was contacted by the Sturgis Police Department regarding the Amber Alert at 12:16 a.m.
The father, 37-year-old Fernando Mendoza Cruz, is said to have fled with the children while the mother was trying to contact the police. The descriptions of the three missing kids are below:
Aldo Cruz, 2, last seen wearing a blue T-shirt and a diaper.
Matteo Nieves, 4, last seen wearing red shorts and a blue T-shirt.
Chelsey Lopez, 5, last seen wearing a pink T-shirt and blue pajama pants.
Cruz, who is said to be armed with a handgun, is traveling in a maroon 2009 Chevy Traverse with Michigan license plate DWH 9204, according to authorities. The Sturgis Police Department is currently pinging his phone.
AMBER ALERT: Police say Aldo, Matteo & Chelsey were taken from Sturgis (not far from the Indiana border) by their father Fernando Cruz after he assaulted their mother - they also say he is armed with a handgun. #amberalert pic.twitter.com/3yBNlNPjAM— Ann Marie LaFlamme (@AnnMarieLaFlamm) August 30, 2018
If you have any information on their whereabouts or if you see the vehicle please call 911 or the Sturgis Police Department at 269-651-3231.
Amber Alerts are urgent bulletins that interrupt radio and television broadcasting and send wireless emergency alerts to cell phones. They are only meant to be used for abductions of children below 18 years of age who are in danger.
Each case is evaluated separately as there are several different types of missing cases — including runaways and parental abductions. "That's why it's a hard job, and I get a lot of pressure to put an alert out on every kid that goes missing, but could you imagine just the volume of them that are going out?" Michigan State Police spokeswoman Sarah Krebs said. "We really have to have criteria in place to decide which ones get an alert and which ones don't."
She also said that while there are several parental abductions that happen every day, an Amber Alert is issued only if there is a threat to the child. In many cases, the child is abducted simply because the parent wants to spend time with them.
According to Krebs, during an Amber Alert, personal cellphones receive alerts and many a time the people being sought are also notified of the same.
"Our suspects are getting that wireless alert," Krebs said. "We have seen many children returned almost immediately after the wireless alert goes out. The child is recovered, and it's because it gets their attention, too. I think, sometimes, in the heat of the moment and the emotion of it, they don't realize what a big deal this is until they get the Amber Alert on their phone."