Children taken from Port Angeles returned to mother

PORT ANGELES — Two Port Angeles siblings allegedly kidnapped Friday evening by the father of one of the children and driven to Northern California have been returned to their mother, according to the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

“They’re already back in school,” Michele Devlin, chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, said Wednesday.

Devlin said authorities have no immediate plans to extradite the alleged kidnappers — Warren O. Murphy, 37, and his female companion, Pricilla A. Montes Cruz, 39, both of Fontana, Calif. — while the FBI and Port Angeles Police Department continue their investigation.

Murphy and Montes Cruz were arrested early Saturday morning on Clallam County warrants for investigation of second-degree kidnapping and first-degree custodial interference.

Devlin said Wednesday the couple have been released from the Glenn County, Calif., jail.

“At this point, we’re not extraditing them,” Devlin said. “We’re not able to make a charging decision at this point.”

Devlin said she expects a charge will be filed by next week.

“From the information we have, we don’t think they will be fleeing,” she said.

Port Angeles Police Sgt. Jason Viada said Wednesday that more interviews need to be conducted in the case.

The California Highway Patrol arrested Murphy, the father of the 13-year-old girl, and Montes Cruz in Willows, Calif., early Saturday morning.

California Child Protective Services had taken custody of the girl, her 11-year-old brother and Cruz’s child.

Information on Cruz’s child, including the child’s gender and age, were unavailable Wednesday.

The mother told police that Murphy, her former husband, was estranged from his daughter for the past 11 or 12 years.

A Stevens Middle School resource officer had allegedly stopped Murphy from taking the girl out of school Friday, according to the probable cause report.

That evening, Murphy allegedly told the girl’s mother that he was taking his daughter and her brother out to dinner.

The mother called 9-1-1 shortly before midnight, reporting that Murphy was not answering her calls.

An Amber Alert was issued, and authorities tracked him on his cellphone.

Murphy and Montes Cruz were arrested on Interstate 5 in Willows, Calif., 500 miles north of Fontana, at 5:20 a.m. Saturday.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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