Two Oceanside boys who authorities say were abducted by the father of one of the children were found safe early Tuesday in Long Beach, Calif.
According to Josh Morris of the Oceanside Police Department (OPD), the Long Beach Police Department located both children, along with suspect Daijon West, 29, at the Colonial Motel at 802 E. Pacific Coast Highway just after 4 a.m.
One of the boys was found sleeping in the suspect’s car in the parking lot of the motel, police said. The second boy was in a motel room with West. When officers called into the room, West came out peacefully with the child.
The children were unharmed and West was arrested, Morris said.
Authorities had issued an Amber Alert in connection with the boys' disappearance at around 12 a.m. Tuesday, hours after they said West injured his wife and fled with his son and the second child – his wife’s son from a previous relationship.
The kids were last seen at 4:10 p.m. Monday as they drove away with West.
OPD Lt. Leonard Cosby discussed the abduction case Tuesday morning with the news media. He said the children were safe with police and would arrive back in San Diego around 8 a.m.
West was also being transported back to San Diego to face several charges, including felony spousal abuse, brandishing a fiearm and felony child abuse.
“The Oceanside Police Department is pleased to announce a safe resolution to this incident,” Cosby said, adding that news reports and social media posts contributed greatly to helping police find the children.
Cosby said West’s wife, Amber Brittian, called police in a panic just after 4 p.m. from Greenbrier Drive in Oceanside to report that her husband of 11 months had threatened her with a rifle after allegedly injuring her.
She claimed West was stalking her on the streets of their neighborhood, forcing her to seek a hiding place, Cosby said. Brittian called police while she ran down the street. As West tried to follow her, she hid behind parked cars.
“The woman was actively hiding from her husband,” Cosby explained. “She was in fear for her life.”
Police said a Good Samaritan stopped and asked Brittian if she needed help. West spotted the interaction and then allegedly threatened the Good Samaritan, and the passerby drove away. West then allegedly threatened Brittian with a firearm, and she managed to run away from him again.
Cosby said Brittian told police West had the rifle in his car and had fled with his 9-year-old son and her 10-year-old son.
At that point, police launched a search for West and the children, and took many precautions, Cosby said, because West was allegedly armed.
“Do we want to have a shootout, in public, with a lot of kids running around? Definitely not,” Cosby said, explaining the long, careful process of investigators working on this case.
Cosby said the wife told police that West had called her and told her he was headed to San Diego to terrorize her mother.
Instead, West took the children to the motel in Long Beach about 75 miles north of Oceanside. Cosby said detectives were able to ping the suspect’s cell phone to determine his location.
During the overnight investigation, Cosby said an experienced police negotiator was able to speak by phone with West. The negotiator asked him to release the children, but he refused.
However, once officers traced him to the motel, he turned the kids over.
Cosby said the boys were unharmed and, in his words, “as fine as you can be in an incident like this.”
The children will now be interviewed by detectives and will be placed in the Custody of Child Protective Services for the time being, Cosby confirmed.
He said West’s wife is currently San Diego, but police are unable to reunite her with the kids at this time.
Cosby said investigators have not yet recovered a weapon in this abduction case. The lieutenant anticipates West will face additional charges as the investigation unfolds.
At this point, investigators believe this incident first began at the couple's apartment on Greenbier Drive after West and Brittian got into an argument over dirty laundry.