A 48-year-old man accused of kidnapping his daughter from her foster parents in Riverside County more than three years ago was apprehended in Washington state, with the child, authorities said Friday.
Michael Stevens of Lynnwood, Washington, was arrested Thursday afternoon by Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies and booked into a local detention facility on an arrest warrant alleging child stealing. He’s being held without bail, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Stevens is awaiting extradition to California. It was not immediately known when the extradition process would be completed.
Agency spokesman John Hall said that in early November, Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force investigators received tips that Stevens was selling cars on Craigslist under the pseudonym “Michael Lee.”
Further investigation led to confirmation that it was the fugitive and his exact location, Hall said.
Deputies arrested him without incident at his residence, where they also located the girl, who is now 5 years old. She was safe and in good health, Hall said.
The child was placed in foster care in the winter of 2014 based on findings by a Riverside County juvenile dependency judge that it would be in the 18-month-old’s best interest. She was taken in by a foster couple in Moreno Valley.
According to Hall, Stevens was allowed to have custody of his daughter for a full weekend visitation on March 7, 2014. However, when the foster mother went to retrieve the girl three days later, neither she nor the defendant could be found.
Stevens was charged four months later with child abduction.
The Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, comprised of District Attorney’s Office investigators, representatives of the U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement officials, had been working to find him since that time.
–City News Service