TRINIDAD, Colo. — Two children abducted from Texas and found in southern Colorado are safe now.
They were found Wednesday evening in Las Animas County near Cuchara after a new Amber Alert was issued for them.
Investigators accuse Terry Miles of killing their mother in Round Rock, Texas, last month, and taking her daughters with him.
He appeared in federal court in Denver on Thursday on charges related to kidnapping. Miles claims he found their mother dead and took them with him.
Miles’ capture, and the safe return of the girls, happened because people in the community around Trinidad were alert.
“We have to be alert because we are the only store that’s 24 hours,” said Gail Larsen, assistant manager at the Shell gas station just off of Interstate 25 in Trinidad.
She won’t ever forget Miles.
“He’s not hard to miss,” she said. “I did recognize him right away.”
Larsen was the first to spot the suspect on Tuesday.
She said when looking at surveillance video, they noticed he had been in the convenience store several times.
Her quick eye, and others like her, led to an Amber Alert for the two girls and Miles. It was issued Wednesday afternoon.
The surveillance images of Miles became top of mind for Las Animas County sheriff’s Sgt. Darian Dasko, who spotted the 2017 Hyundai Miles was driving.
“He took a wide turn like trying to avoid me. I looked in the mirror and didn’t see any registration on the vehicle,” he said.
Dasko proceeded to stop the Hyundai off of Highway 12 in the area of Cuchara. He was prepared for anything.
“I’m playing out situations in my head … if he was going to take off in the vehicle … if he was going to come out with some type of weapon,” Dasko said.
“I’m not going to lie. My heart and my blood pressure was pretty pumped up at the time.”
Miles gave up without a fight.
“He didn’t really say much,” Dasko said. “We didn’t really ask him any questions once we had him detained in the back of our car. Our main objective after that was to take care of the girls.”
And back at the sheriff’s office, the girls were happy, according to Las Animas County Sheriff James Casias.
“I asked them what they wanted and they wanted pizza, which, you know, if you want pizza then you’re OK. They were fine,” Casias said.
The sheriff said everything fell into place. The community came to the rescue.
The girls were their way home to Texas late Thursday.