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2 More Children Abducted; Fathers Sought in Both Cases

In the latest incident, a brother and sister are taken from their home near Whittier. Suspect allegedly threatened to kill them.

August 21, 2003|Kimi Yoshino | Times Staff Writer

Authorities issued the second statewide child abduction alert in as many days late Wednesday, asking for the public's help in finding a man who allegedly attacked his wife in her home near Whittier and kidnapped their children.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Gregory Corcoran took the 1-year-old boy and 1-month-old girl, both wearing only diapers, at about 1:45 p.m.

Corcoran was unarmed, but authorities said he threatened to kill his children if police were contacted. He was believed to be driving a tan 1998 Saturn with the license plate 4AUA591 on the front of the car only, and he may be going to Las Vegas or Laughlin, Nev., where he has friends and family, Deputy Ron Bottomley said.

Corcoran has an outstanding warrant for previous domestic violence, Bottomley said.

Meanwhile, authorities continued searching for two Garden Grove girls, ages 5 and 3, whose father failed to returned them to their mother on Sunday, according to police.

The mother, Anna Martinez, 27, and Luis Javier Areaga, 29 "had an argument," said Garden Grove Police Lt. Mike Handfield. "He said, 'You're not seeing the kids again. I'm going to kill them and I'm going to poison them.' "

He called again Wednesday morning, said he was "far away" and reiterated that she would not see the children again, Handfield said.

"He insinuated the kids were still ok OK, but nobody talked to the children and nobody has seen them," Handfield said.

On Tuesday, authorities activated the Amber alert freeway signs. But for only the second time since that program began last August, California Highway Patrol officials turned off the signs during rush hour Wednesday, because the CHP deemed that safety outweighed the signs' benefits during heavy traffic, spokesman Tom Marshall said.

"If this abduction had just occurred this morning or last night, they would have been left on," Marshall said.

"But because it was somewhat of a cold trail, we felt it would be prudent for public safety to turn them off."

Garden Grove police said they appreciate the CHP's assistance but believe the case of the two missing girls is intensifying because their father allegedly threatened their lives.

Though they support the CHP, they noted that rush hour would be a time when "most people would see the signs and be alert," said Garden Grove police Lt. Mike Handfield.

The Amber alert law only specifies that Amber alerts be broadcast on television and radio. Additional alerts on freeway message boards, at state lottery terminals and over the Internet are voluntary.

Although no Amber alert has been known to have caused an accident, Marshall said they clearly affect traffic as motorists slow to read them.

Jenni Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Polly Klaas Foundation, which works to find missing children, said that though the freeway signs are helpful, she does not think it would be detrimental to the case to temporarily turn them off.

The alerts were designed to interrupt broadcasts within three hours of a child reported missing. By Wednesday, Thompson said, most people were aware that the Garden Grove girls were missing.

Arteaga is described as Latino, 5 feet 11, 190 pounds, clean-shaven with straight black hair and a medium build. He is believed to be driving a 1989 blue Mazda MPV van with California license plate 2LTX307.

Anyone with information is asked to call Garden Grove police at (714) 638-6613.

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