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Amber Alert Issued for 2 Abducted Girls

Garden Grove police are seeking the father, who they say has threatened to kill his daughters.

August 20, 2003|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

Garden Grove police Tuesday issued an Amber alert for two young sisters, saying that their father had abducted and threatened to kill them.

Luis Javier Arteaga, 29, is sought in connection with the disappearance of his daughters, Hilary, 5, and Zitlalit, 3.

The two girls were last seen Sunday at the Barnett Street home of their mother, Anna Martinez, 27, who had been Arteaga's girlfriend, said Sgt. Dennis Ellsworth, a Garden Grove Police Department spokesman.

After the couple's recent breakup, he said, the parents shared time with the kids. On Sunday, however, Arteaga -- reportedly despondent over the breakup -- failed to return the girls to their mother, prompting Martinez to call police, authorities said.

Because Arteaga telephoned Martinez to warn he that he had left the state and she would not see the children again if authorities were notified, police initially held off on issuing the Amber alert, Ellsworth said.

But Arteaga apparently learned of the police investigation in some other way, Ellsworth said, because he called again about 6:20 p.m. Tuesday to tell Martinez that he planned to kill the girls.

"We have no idea where he is now," Ellsworth said. "We just want to get the kids returned and make sure that they're safe."

Arteaga -- described as Latino, 5 feet 11, 190 pounds, clean-shaven with straight black hair and a medium build -- is believed to be driving a 1989 blue Mazda MPV van with California license plate 2LTX307. Police released a partial description of one of the girls, saying that Hilary has brown eyes and straight black hair, is 3 feet 6 and weighs 45 pounds.

Anyone seeing Arteaga or the children is asked to call Garden Grove police at (714) 638-6613.

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