The office received a court order in January that a parent without custody took children under a custodial order issued in Placer County from their home in Lassen. The Placer County Superior Court ordered the District Attorney’s office to immediately secure the children’s safe return through its “Child Abduction Response Team.” However, unlike larger jurisdictions, the office does not have one, leaving DA Rios and Investigator Avilla to take responsibility.
After communicating with the custodial parent and conducting further investigation, the children were found in Utah. DAI Avilla attempted to organize the children’s safe return by talking with the parent who did not have custody. Avilla and DA Rios then worked to get detention warrants for the children and set a hearing in Placer County Superior Court.
That’s where investigator Avilla met the parent who had the children in Utah. They were then returned to the parent with legal custody rights. Avilla was prepared to travel to Utah to retrieve the children via warrant if the return had not been successful; outside DA offices offered to support Avilla in the recovery effort if necessary.
The District Attorney’s office says the case is being reviewed for potential criminal charges against the non-custodial parent.