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Amber Alert Is Canceled as Search for Father, Girls Shifts to Mexico

Garden Grove police obtain an arrest warrant. Second kidnap case ends in dad's arrest.

August 22, 2003|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

A statewide Amber alert issued to find two Garden Grove girls allegedly kidnapped by their father was canceled Thursday after it was determined that he had taken the children to Mexico, police said.

"We are now focusing on locations in Mexico in an effort to possibly locate and determine if the children are OK," said Garden Grove Police Sgt. Dennis Ellsworth.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for Luis Javier Arteaga, 29, who is suspected of kidnapping, child stealing, false imprisonment and making terrorist threats, police said.

A second Amber alert was also canceled Thursday after a father suspected of abducting his two children from their home near Whittier was taken into custody in Laughlin, Nev. The children were unharmed, authorities said, and the Amber alert did not lead to the arrest.

Gregory Corcoran, 25, took his year-old son, Kyle, and month-old daughter, Jenna, at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials, after assaulting his wife and threatening to kill the kids if authorities were notified. A statewide Amber alert was issued late Wednesday.

In the Garden Grove case, police said Hilary and Zitlalit Arteaga, 5 and 3, were last seen Sunday at the Barnett Street home of their mother, Anna Martinez, 27.

The couple recently separated but had been sharing time with their kids. Arteaga, reportedly despondent, failed to return the girls to their mother Sunday, prompting Martinez to call police, authorities said.

An Amber alert was activated Tuesday, the same day Arteaga reportedly called to tell Martinez that he planned to kill the girls. He called Wednesday to say that he was far away and would not return the children, police said.

Investigators said they are working with Mexican authorities to find the girls and capture Arteaga, who grew up in Mexico.

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.

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Times wire services contributed to this report.

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