Three children rescued after kidnapping in northeast Grand Island

Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 2:31 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 30, 2023 at 8:10 AM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Police rescued three children after they were kidnapped during a car theft on Sunday.

According to officials, a Grand Island man reported his 2012 Chevy Traverse stolen from the 1400 Block of North Wheeler at 3 a.m. The man’s three children, ages five, one, and seven months, were in the vehicle at the time of the theft.

A short time later, the Grand Island Police Department attempted to stop the vehicle but were unsuccessful and stopped the pursuit.

According to GIPD, the investigation led officers to believe the vehicle was in Buffalo County. The vehicle was later located in rural Buffalo County and the two suspects, a 17-year-old teenager from Hastings and 18-year-old Tate Wolfe of Kearney, were taken into custody by the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department and Nebraska State Patrol. The missing children were not located in the stolen vehicle.

Grand Island Police Officers, while searching the area, discovered a vehicle stolen out of Kearney, and located the 5-year-old and 1-year-old children in the vehicle, believed to have been placed there by the suspects.

The infant was not located at that time. A county-wide alert was issued in an attempt to locate the infant, and at 5:25 am a rural Hall County resident located the infant abandoned on the porch of a farm house.

All three children were transported for medical attention for suspected hypothermia and frostbite. GIPD said the children have all been treated and released, and reunited with their family.

GIPD said officers investigated the circumstances in which those children were in the car and found no negligent behavior on behalf of the parents, who are victims in this case.

Officers said the parents loaded the children in the running vehicle because of the cold, and while speaking briefly with neighbors, the suspects stole the running vehicle.

According to GIPD, these circumstances were backed up by video evidence.

“The safety of our community, and the most vulnerable of them, our children, was the foremost consideration throughout this case, and we are thankful the outcome was not worse given the circumstances caused by the suspects,” said Captain Jim Duering.

GIPD said both suspects are in custody and housed in the Hall County Jail on suspicion of three counts of Kidnapping, three counts of Intentional Childs Abuse resulting in injury, Possession of Stolen Property, and Flight to Avoid Arrest. There may be additional charges in cooperating jurisdictions.