A 4-year-old boy who was allegedly abducted in Wisconsin about three months ago was found safe in Northern Michigan, authorities confirmed on Monday.
Michigan State Police troopers were dispatched around 11 p.m. to Pearl Street in Kingsley after receiving an anonymous tip from a caller about a missing child from Wisconsin, the agency wrote in a news release.
“Troopers spoke with the caller who reported he had seen a missing child on Facebook and was certain the child and father were staying in a motorhome on the property,” the statement reads.
Officials used social media to spread the message about missing 4-year-old Azariah Petrick from Wisconsin in several states after he was reported as missing in July. The unidentified caller contacted the Amber Alert system about “a missing child on Facebook,” who then notified dispatchers.
The boy’s father and alleged abductor was taken into custody at the scene and had an outstanding warrant lodged at the Grand Traverse County Jail, according to the release.
Mark Anthony Petrick, 30, was at first uncooperative and provided a fictitious name after troopers knocked on the door, the release said. He was arrested on a felony charge for parental child abduction.
The boy has since been returned to his mother, three months after he was reported missing on July 22.
At the time Azariah was reported missing, authorities launched a multi-state search mission for the child, who was last seen with his father in a Milwaukee suburb.
Child abducted from Wisconsin rescued by MSP in Grand Traverse County. pic.twitter.com/Il50q1Ra7c
— @MSPNorthernMI (@mspnorthernmi) October 20, 2020
The father reportedly had a joint custody arrangement with the boy’s mother, who hasn’t been identified, 9&10 News reported.
Deputies with the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office assisted troopers during the rescue mission, police said.
Approximately 200,000 children are kidnapped each year by a family member, according to the Polly Klaas Foundation.
Child custody experts say that people kidnap their own children to force a reconciliation or continued interaction with the other, left-behind parent; to spite or punish the other parent; from fear of losing custody or visitation rights.
In rare cases, the kidnapping may occur to protect a child from a parent who is believed to be abusing the child.
Common warnings signs include the other parent threatening abduction, suspected abuse, or paranoid delusion.