LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three children kidnapped after their mother was killed in a remote area outside Los Angeles were found safe Wednesday as authorities continued to search for the couple wanted in connection with both crimes.
Joshua Aaron Robertson, 27, and Brittany Humphrey, 22, fled the Los Angeles area with the children on Interstate 40, and drove through Arizona and into New Mexico, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The children, two girls and a boy between 2 and 5, were found safe in a motel on the outskirts of Albuquerque after the couple left the children with a man staying there, Lt. Joe Mendoza said.
When the couple didn't return, the man called police.
The Albuquerque motel is nearly 700 miles east of where the children's mother was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds along a road in a remote area of Los Angeles County on Aug. 14.
Their mother, who didn't have identification on her body, was identified four days after her death as Kimberly Harvill. Authorities said they believe she had been killed within 24 hours of being found, though it's unclear where the killing took place.
Humphrey is Harvill's half-sister, and therefore the children's aunt.
The sheriff's department still considers Humphrey and Robertson as on the run and armed and dangerous. Investigators believe they were headed to parts east of New Mexico.
The couple has family in Nebraska and ties to Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, Mendoza said.
Sheriff's officials say Robertson has an infant with him who is unrelated to Harvill's children, who were in the custody of authorities working to return them to California.
The children's father died previously, but they have a grandmother in Fresno, authorities said.
Harvill and her children most recently lived in Fresno and were transitory, moving from motel to motel, sheriff's Capt. Steve Katz said, adding that they depended on panhandling to survive.
Harvill was involved with methamphetamine, as were Humphrey and Robertson, Katz said.
Humphrey and Robertson were living in Lebec, the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County where Harvill was recently staying with her children and where she was killed, Mendoza said.
It appears that Harvill and her children had been staying with Humphrey and Robertson, he said.
Investigators know of no ongoing conflict between the sisters, Mendoza said.
An arrest warrant for kidnapping was issued for the couple. Investigators say the couple are considered persons of interest in Harvill's death.
"Due to the fact that immediately after the murder or sometime shortly after, it is suspicious that they did not come forward to law enforcement and instead they fled eastbound towards other states," Mendoza said.
The couple is believed to be in Harvill's 1999 green Ford Expedition, which has California plates 7BEK024 that may have been swapped for temporary paper tags, stick-figure stickers of a family and a sticker that reads "R.I.P. Chad Watkins."
Robertson has a criminal history that includes a conviction on illegal weapons charges. He is on probation.
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