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Children abducted from Miami found safe in Barstow
BARSTOW • Three children are set to be reunited with their father after being abducted by their mother and her boyfriend in Miami last week and being found in Barstow on Thursday.
At approximately 2:31 p.m., Barstow authorities received a tip that a vehicle being driven by Carrie Weingarth and her boyfriend Christian Coello was heading to the Barstow area, according to Barstow Police Department Lt. Mike Hunter.
Weingarth, 32, had unlawfully removed the three children as part of “an interference of custody” case, Hunter said. Weingarth was reported to have removed her children from school without authority and fled the state in a rental vehicle bearing Florida license plates.
Hunter said at approximately 4:01 p.m., BPD officer Phillip Ragle spotted the suspect vehicle at the intersection of Barstow and Armory roads.
Ragle stopped the vehicle and found Weingarth and Coello, 24, taking them into custody without incident.
Hunter said the three children were located inside the vehicle unharmed and were taken into protective custody and were released to the San Bernardino County Department of Child Services to be released to authorities in Florida, Hunter said.
“This is a good arrest for us because they made it all the way across the country and we picked them up,” Hunter said. “They were moving with these kids to Los Angeles to start a new life, abducted them from school in Miami and made it all the way to Barstow.”
According to previous reports, Weingarth picked up her son, 12-year-old Erin Pena, from Gulfstream Elementary School in South Florida on Feb. 14 and fled the across the country with Coello and her younger sons Derrick, 8, and Steven Pena, 7.
On Friday, the state of Florida awarded custody to the boys’ biological father, Steven Pena, according to several reports.
Weingarth is currently being held at the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto and is ineligible for bail; Coello is currently being held at the Barstow Station and is also ineligible for bail, booking records show.
Weingarth was arrested on an out-of-state felony warrant for kidnapping a minor, while Coello was charged with an out-of-state felony warrant of aiding and abetting, Hunter said.
Court dates for the couple have not been scheduled as of Friday morning, according to booking records.
Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to call the Barstow Police Department at 760-256-2211. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at 800-782-7463.
Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @JoseQuinteroDD.