DENVER — Four children missing from New Hampshire were found safe, with their father, by a park ranger at Cheyenne Mountain State Park.
The Salem Police Department in New Hampshire said the children’s mother has full custody of them but their father refused to bring them back home.
Police had asked the public to look for the children and their father, 30-year-old Matthew Giovanditto, who was believed to be driving a 2015 white Chevrolet Traverse hauling a white pop-up camper.
Ranger Jason Hagan was getting gas in his patrol vehicle at a service station on the south side of Colorado Springs on Saturday when he spotted a white Chevy with New Hampshire plates pulling a pop-up camper. A man was driving and had four children inside.
“Hagan said he took a hard look at the driver and was convinced he was face-to-face with the man being sought by authorities in New Hampshire, so he got on his radio to call in for backup from Colorado State Patrol,” officials said in a statement released Sunday.
“The driver realized I was calling him in and he pulled up next to our truck,” Hagan said.
Hagan had Thomas Duff, a CPW ranger trainee, with him in the truck.
“We jumped out of our truck and took control of him. He was agitated and didn’t want to be in handcuffs. But we were able to cuff him and hold him until the State Patrol arrived,” Hagan stated.
Hagan said the suspect tried to convince the rangers they had the situation all wrong.
“He was trying to talk his way out of it,” Hagan stated.
The children, who range in age from 3-9, didn’t appear to be harmed or in any danger. They were taken by Colorado Department of Human Services and put into protective custody.
The suspect was later released, officials said.